To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird Jean Louise Finch (Scout) Quotes Page 8
I was more at home in my father's world. People like Mr. Heck Tate did not trap you with innocent questions to make fun of you; even Jem was not highly critical unless you said something stupid. Ladies seemed to live in faint horror of men, seemed unwilling to approve wholeheartedly of them. But I liked them. There was something about them, no matter how much they cussed and drank and gambled and chewed; no matter how undelectable they were, there was something about them that I instinctively liked... they weren't—
"Hypocrites, Mrs. Perkins, born hypocrites," Mrs. Merriweather was saying. (24.54-55)
Like magic, Mrs. Merriweather finishes Scout's unspoken thought. At this point Scout feels like she understands men and their rules, and that she can trust them to behave in a certain way. The idea of being "at home" in the male world is a little weird, as if womanhood is an undiscovered country that Scout has to discover and map in order to make it her own. (Also, we think Jem is learning the same lesson—men doesn't always operate by the visible rules, either.)
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. (24.93)
Hm, maybe being a lady isn't so bad after all. On the one hand, acting like everything is fine while Tom has just died may seem hypocritical. On the other, mad props to Aunt Alexandra for keeping private family business private.
After my bout with Cecil Jacobs when I committed myself to a policy of cowardice, word got around that Scout Finch wouldn't fight any more, her daddy wouldn't let her. This was not entirely correct: I wouldn't fight publicly for Atticus, but the family was private ground. I would fight anyone from a third cousin upwards tooth and nail. Francis Hancock, for example, knew that. (10.6)
Atticus is the same in both public and private, but not Scout—she's willing to toe the line and play it cool with outsiders, but she still fights with her own family. Is Atticus's opinion the only reason, or is there some other difference?