To Kill A Mockingbird is a novel that depicts many issues in society which include racism and discrimination. The novel provides an insight on how the issues in society affect people, but also the way others think and behave. Most of the conflicts in this novel deal with how the Finches, most especially Scout is struggling with the issues of racism in their town. One of the key points is how Scout struggles to understand the circumstances around her and why they are occurring.
Conflict #1: In chapter two, Scout has a misunderstanding with her teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher. The whole situation evolved from the fact that a student in Scout’s class, Walter Cunningham, did not bring a lunch to school. This then leads to Miss Caroline offering Walter a quarter to purchase lunch with, which he does not accept. Miss Caroline is confused as to why Walter is not accepting her quarter and because of this Scout becomes a part of the situation. She is trying to explain Walter’s backstory to Miss Caroline, therefore giving an insight on the social regimen and economic standards in Maycomb.
Scout’s statements give an understanding to the way certain people are treated and udged in the town. Meanwhile, Scout is providing her explanation, Miss Caroline becomes frustrated with Scout and whips her, leaving Scout embarrassed. This situation develops into Scout being spiteful toward Walter Cunningham, but also disliking her teacher. The issue that Scout has with her teacher is not truly resolved since Scout does not want to return to school because of this incident and also another. (Lee 39) However, there is an end to Scout’s spitefulness towards Walter Cunningham.
As it was stated in chapter three of the novel, Scout does confront Walter and attacks him, but events take a urn when Walter is invited by Jem to the Finch home for dinner. (Lee 30-31) This then becomes a situation where Scout learns more about Walter, but also a very important lesson. When Walter is invited to the home and haves dinner, he was very out of place because it was not his usual “scenario” leading to him “not eating his dinner properly” or at least the way the Finches do. Scout is then reprimanded by Calpurnia for teasing Walter.
This leads Scout to realize that not everyone is the same. This then marks the very beginning of Scout’s journey to fully understand the people of Maycomb. Here Scout begins to comprehend that it is not correct to treat people a certain way or label someone because that is the way others do, or the environment that you are in. (Lee 33) I believe that through this conflict the author is allowing the reader to understand the way things function in Maycomb. Lee is clarifying that discrimination is the way of life in this town and that people are often categorized and treated unfairly because of it.
Not only this but through the situation, the author is allowing the character of Scout to realize the importance of the things that are occurring round her. One of the biggest issues in the novel is how Scout and Jem struggle to understand the fact that their is defending an African American man in court. This leads to the town people being very disrespectful and judgmental toward the Finch family. The Finch children then begin to question their father, his integrity, and his motives. Not only this but they also begin to question themselves and their lives.
Conflict #2: In chapter nine, Scout has a confrontation with her cousin, Francis, because he labels her father, Atticus Finch, as a “nigger over”. This was an offensive word used by many white people in the south describing a white person who had any type of association with a person from the other race. This situation took place after the Finches’ Christmas dinner when Francis and Scout where in the back yard of Finches Landing. There, Francis and Scout are having a conversation where they come across the topic that Atticus does not know how to discipline his kids and that “It ain’t your fault if Uncle Atticus is a nigger-lover” (Lee 110).
From here on Francis begins to give an insight on Aunt Alexandria’s thoughts pertaining to Atticus’ actions. This then leads to Francis strongly belittling Atticus, and then calling him a “nigger-lover” At this point, Scout is infuriated and extremely defensive. Francis then continues to repeat the word as he enters the kitchen with the guarantee of Aunt Alexandria’s safety. Shen then enters the pom and Scout is reprimanded because of the lies Francis created about the situation. After this, both go back into the yard, where Francis continues with his insults toward Atticus (Lee 112).
This time around, Scout oes not hold back and physically hurts Francis by punching his tooth. (Lee 112). Of course, Francis was the victim of the situation and Scout was pinned at fault and she was penalized. This situation then causes the Finches to rapidly leave Finches Landing. This conflict reaches a resolution when the Finches leave the area and go home, but the once at home the situation reaches more depth. Uncle Jack and Scout then begin to have a conservation. Here Scout states “You’re real nice, Uncle Jack, an’ I reckon I love you even after what you did, but you don’t understand children much” (Lee 113).
From here, Scout begins to explain to Uncle Jack what really occurred in contrast of Francis’ lies. She explains that Francis had provoked her to take matters into her own hands because of the offensive statements that he made, more specifically the word he called Atticus. This is where Scout confesses to Uncle Jack that Francis called Atticus a “nigger-lover” (Lee 114) This clears most of Scout’s faults and at notice are Francis’ terrible actions. Most of the situation is resolved, but what can never be cease to exist, is Scout’s exposure to the cruelty and disrespect of others because f her father’s decisions and actions.
This is the one the first situations about racism that begin to destroy Scout’s innocence. This experience is one of the many encounters that Scout has with people of Maycomb’s prejudice and discrimination because of the Tom Robinson court case. From this situation, Scout learns that many people are against her father’s beliefs, who is a person she has looked up and admired but also followed without a doubt in her mind. This experience, creates uncertainty in Scout and she learns that her life is now beginning to shift or change and not in the best way possible.
In this chapter and situation, the author gives the reader an insight on the Finch family’s encounter with the ignorance and misjudgment because of the news that has been discovered about Atticus Finch. The author is allowing the reader to comprehend how Atticus’ actions are beginning to affect his children, but also that the situation is rapidly developing. Through this chapter, we as the reader, realize one of the first signs as to how events will take place involving the Finch children and their association with the impartial people of Maycomb County.