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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird Jean Louise Finch (Scout) Quotes Page 7

Quote #19

I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me, and for the second time in my life I thought of running away. Immediately. (14.24)

Those dresses may look pretty, but Scout thinks they'd just hold her in. (Fine—but do you have to wear overalls?)

Quote #20

I walked home with Dill and returned in time to overhear Atticus saying to Aunty, "...in favor of Southern womanhood as much as anybody, but not for preserving polite fiction at the expense of human life," a pronouncement that made me suspect they had been fussing again. (15.39)

By calling Southern womanhood a "polite fiction," Atticus asserts that it's not real—it's just an idea that people at least pretend to believe in to make life run smoother. And what makes for a particularly Southern womanhood? How is being a woman in the south different from being a woman in the north? Are there any "fictions" about being a woman that we still believe?

Quote #21

Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere, but this feeling was what Aunt Alexandra called being "spoiled."

The ladies were cool in fragile pastel prints: most of them were heavily powdered but unrouged; the only lipstick in the room was Tangee Natural. Cutex Natural sparkled on their fingernails, but some of the younger ladies wore Rose. They smelled heavenly. I sat quietly, having conquered my hands by tightly gripping the arms of the chair, and waited for someone to speak to me. (24.13-14)

For being so fearful of ladies, Scout sure knows a lot about them, down to the brands of makeup they wear. (Or maybe that's the only kind available in Maycomb? We're guessing there's no nearby Sephora.) The level of detail in her description suggests that maybe Scout's just as fascinated as she is scared.

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