Hi, fellow bloggers and new followers! I hope your week has been going well.
Firstly, I’d like to thank Harper Lee for writing one of the best classics ever – “To Kill A Mocking Bird” – and presenting us with the most remarkable literary characters. I love this book (book review here) and throughout this challenge, I keep on wanting to talk about it – best classics, best male character, etc. But, after much thought, I’ve realised that the thing which hooked me the most about “To Kill A Mocking Bird” is their female protagonist. So, it’s my great pleasure to tell you that my favourite female character is Jean Louise “Scout” Finch.
Scout resonates with the young girl in me. I find that for a five-year-old, she was really mature and precocious. In the midst of debates on justice, feminism, and racial prejudice, she observes and learns from people around her. For a moment, I was worried whether she will emerge with her conscience and optimism intact or whether she will be bruised, hurt, or destroyed like Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. Fortunately, Scout is discerning enough to question and analyse things instead of readily accepting them. Through this, Scout learns that though humanity has a great capacity for evil, it also has a great capacity for good, and that the evil can often be mitigated with sympathy and understanding. Wow! Which kid thinks like that? Indeed, it is unsurprising to see how much Scout accumulated a lifetime’s worth of lesson during the span of the book and grew as a person in three years.
A part of me attributes Scout’s wisdom to the relationships and company she keeps – something I commend. She is best friends with her older brother Jem (always hoped to have one), lets her father Atticus reads the newspaper to them every night, and has an endearing “puppy love” with Dill who likes her despite not being a typical girl. And, of all these, I admire how respectful and obedient she is of Atticus.
“Somehow, if I fought Cecil I would let Atticus down. Atticus so rarely asked Jem and me to do something for him, I could take being called a coward for him. I felt extremely noble for having remembered, and remained noble for three weeks.”
For a young girl, she has a sound mind, moral judgement, and conscience which is unwavering to social pressures and hypocrisies. She is steadfast, open-minded, and good-hearted. She has the ability to put herself in other people’s shoes. In fact, I think Scout is an epitome of a well-brought up daughter any father can be proud of.
I am inspired by Scout’s unique and strong personality. She is intelligent (she learns to read before beginning school), confident (she fights boys without fear), thoughtful (she worries about the essential goodness and evil of mankind), and good-natured (she always acts with the best intentions). Indeed, she is such an unconventional girl; a girl unlike any other. She is probably the only “tomboy” in the prim and proper town of Maycomb. And as though this isn’t enough, she is feisty and fierce enough to have no qualms in defending herself or her family and responding to the kids’ ugly name-calling with her fists. Her persona is probably the inspiration behind numerous strong (young adult) female protagonists now.
In addition, I admire how Scout doesn’t have much interest in stereotypical girl things like dolls and dresses. She’s very comfortable with herself and “trying to fit in” never crossed her mind. On the contrary, she perceives Aunt Alexandra’s crusade to make her more lady-like similar to a battle for freedom. It’s like taking a pair of pants away from her and wearing a dress is analogous to giving up all the things she likes to do and replacing them with what others expect her to do. But, what made me respect her more was when she started recognising and exemplifying the values of being a woman. She was sensible enough to stand by her principles while learning from the strong women in her life. I was very proud of her at this point in the book:
“Aunt Alexandra looked across the room at me and smiled. She looked at a tray of cookies on the table and nodded at them. I carefully picked up the tray and watched myself walk to Mrs. Merriweather. With my best company manners, I asked her if she would have some. After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.”
She was being the bigger woman. Despite the tough times and her tender age, she had the wisdom and the heart of an old soul. Indeed, if I can go back in time, Scout is the kind of girl I’d like to be.