To Kill a Mockingbird

Chapter 1: What is the narrative point of view? What makes it distinctive?

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Scout narrates the book in the first person, but in the past tense. Her voice and viewpoint offer a glimpse of local events and personalities through the lens of childhood, which may not always grasp the entire story. She often looks up to Atticus, who always displays an upright, solidly moral response for his reactions to events. However, Scout's voice often assumes a mature tone when she writes from a more distant time, speaking of the town and its people in the far-off past tense and offering explanations for outdated terms ("Mr. Radley 'bought cotton,' a polite term for doing nothing"). This narrative device allows the reader to understand more about some of the events that Scout recounts than the young narrator is completely aware of.