To Kill a Mockingbird

Scout makes three mistakes

Scout makes three mistakes during her first day at school, what are they? And why do they make Miss Caroline so mad?

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Miss Caroline writes the alphabet on the board and Scout reads it through easily, then reads from her reader and from the local paper, Miss Caroline forbids Scout to let Atticus teach her to read anymore. Rather than congratulating Scout on her knowledge, Miss Caroline believes Scout is being taught incorrectly and tells her not to read at home anymore.

Scout gets bored and starts writing a letter to Dill, but is criticized again by her teacher for knowing how to write in script when she's only supposed to print in first grade.

At lunchtime, Miss Caroline asks everyone who isn't going home for lunch to show her their lunch pails. One boy, Walter Cunningham, has no pail and refuses to accept Miss Caroline's loan of a quarter to buy something with. Miss Caroline doesn't understand his refusal, and a classmate asks Scout to help explain. Scout tells Miss Caroline that Walter is a Cunningham, and thinks that explanation should be enough. After realizing Miss Caroline doesn't know what that means, Scout explains that the Cunninghams don't accept other people's help, and just try to get by with what little they have. When Scout explains that Walter can't pay back the lunch money Miss Caroline offered, the teacher taps Scout's hand with a ruler and makes her stand in the corner of the room.

In Chapter 2, the description of Scout's first day allows Lee to provide a context for the events to follow by introducing some of the people and families of Maycomb County. By introducing Miss Caroline, who is like a foreigner in the school, Lee also reveals Maycomb culture to the reader. Maycomb county children are portrayed as a mainly poor, uneducated, rough, rural group ("most of them had chopped cotton and fed hogs from the time they were able to walk"), in contrast to Miss Caroline, who wears makeup and "looked and smelled like a peppermint drop. Scout gets into trouble because Miss. Caroline doesn't understand the town's culture.