Societal Influence on Scout Finch
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch shares her childhood in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. She talks about her thoughts and decisions as she grew older and how they changed. Society had a very powerful influence over Scout as she grew up and her thoughts, actions, and choices were based off of what she learned from her environment. The story takes place in Maycomb, Alabama, a sleepy little town in the South. There are many indicators in the story suggesting that it takes place during the Great Depression. The Cunninghams have taken a big hit from the Great Depression and everyone knows it. Scout doesn’t think very highly of the Cunninghams at the beginning of the book because of their financial situation and neither do any of her classmates. Societal influence on Scout can be seen when Scout explains to Miss Caroline that, “’Walter’s one of the Cunninghams, Miss Caroline’” (20) and “’That’s okay, ma’am, you’ll get to know all the country folks after a while.” (20). She says that Miss Caroline doesn’t know yet because she’s not from around here and that everyone knows the Cunninghams situation and implies that everyone shares her opinion or rather she shares the opinion of everyone else. During this time, racism still runs rampant throughout society in the South. Scout refers to black people in the more derogatory term and when Atticus corrects her, she complains that “’ ’s what everybody at school says.’” (75) and “’Well if you don’t want me to grow up talkin’ that way, why do you send me to school?’” (75). She outright says that she picked it up from school, meaning that the children, and maybe even some teachers, are completely fine and comfortable with using that word. Gender issues are also brought up in this book. Jem is always teasing Scout, saying that she’s such a girl and that she should go do feminine things. Scout even expresses her dislike of being a girl...
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