Jean Louise Finch, or Scout, is the novel’s narrator and principal character. She is a unique and remarkable character who does not quite fit in, or do what is expected of young girls in 1930s Alabama. Readers will note that Scout at the end of the novel is very different from Scout at the beginning and this is because she has developed so much as a character. At the start of the novel, she is a determined, spirited tomboy; she loves wearing trousers. She spends most of her time with Jem, her brother and Dill, her friend who visits every summer.
She can’t bear to be reminded that she is a girl and she is often excluded from the boys’ games because she is a girl. At times, being a girl makes her very lonely- she has no mother, sisters or female friends her own age. She tries to solve all problems by fighting and it takes her a long time to follow her father’s advice and learn to fight with her head instead of her fists. Her bad temper is possibly her greatest flaw. She also stands out from the crowd because she is very clever. She can read the newspaper before she starts school and she can’t even remember when started to read.
Her knowledge of law is remarkable for her age. She is also outspoken, and this gets her into trouble with Miss Caroline on her first day at school. She is stubborn and strong-willed, and this means she clashes with people who have authority over her- Calpurnia, Miss Caroline, Aunt Alexandra. she does not disobey her father, but she certainly challenges him and tries to get around him. However, Atticus always gets around her in the end. Scout grows and develops immensely in the course of the novel.
Early in the novel, she believes all the rumors that she hears around Maycomb and picks up many of Maycomb’s attitudes- Boo is a phantom, Mr Dolphus Raymond is evil, black people are only ‘niggers’ and Atticus should not defend them. She also learns to become more accepting of her femininity. For some, it may seem that she gives into Aunt Alexandra’s pressure to be a lady. In the final chapter, we see that the rebellious little tomboy who fights with her fists has made way for a thoughtful, wise, mature and experienced young lady.
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