To Kill a Mockingbird

Outline the confrontation between Scout and Miss Caroline regarding Scout’s reading abilities. Explain the irony inherent in Miss Caroline’s criticism of Atticus’ allowing Scout to read and write.


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when 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 explains she doesn't remember learning how to read, but it seems she always knew how. When Miss Caroline forbids her to continue reading, she realizes how important it is to her: "Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing." The irony of course is implicit in the fact that a teacher was ordering Scout not to read.