To Kill a Mockingbird

Jean Louise Finch (Scout) Character Analysis

The narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is Atticus's daughter, Jem's sister, Alexandra and Jack's niece, and friends with Dill. In the three years the novel covers, she grows from six-years-old to nine. Scout is intelligent and loves to read, but is also headstrong, outspoken, and a tomboy. As the novel opens, Scout is both innocent and intolerant of anything new or different. Scout's innocence falls away in part because she is growing up and in part from the trial of Tom Robinson: she discovers how cruel and violent people can be. But she also learns, through Atticus's careful teaching, that the necessary response to intolerance is to try to understand its origins, to relate to people in terms of their dignity rather than their anger, and to use that foundation as a way to try to slowly change their minds.

Jean Louise Finch (Scout) Quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird

The To Kill a Mockingbird quotes below are all either spoken by Jean Louise Finch (Scout) or refer to Jean Louise Finch (Scout). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Warner Books edition of To Kill a Mockingbird published in 1960.
Chapter 1 Quotes
Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. . . . There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker)
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes
"There's some folks who don't eat like us," she whispered fiercely, "but you ain't called on to contradict 'em at the table when they don't. That boy's yo' comp'ny and if he wants to eat up the table cloth you let him, you hear?"

"He ain't company, Cal, he's just a Cunningham-"

"Hush your mouth! Don't matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house's yo' comp'ny, and don't you let me catch you remarkin' on their ways like you was so high and mighty!
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Calpurnia (speaker), Walter Cunningham
Page Number: 32-33
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 9 Quotes
"If you shouldn't be defendin' him, then why are you doin' it?"

"For a number of reasons," said Atticus. "The main one is, if I didn't I couldn't hold up my head in town, I couldn't represent this county in the legislature, I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again."



"Atticus, are we going to win it?"

"No, honey."

"Then why-"

"Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win," Atticus said.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker), Tom Robinson
Page Number: 100-101
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes
"Remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.
"Your father's right," she said. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker), Miss Maudie Atkinson (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Mockingbird
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

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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.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker), Cecil Jacobs
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

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"Atticus, you must be wrong...."

"How's that?"

"Well, most folks seem to think they're right and you're wrong...."
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Tom Robinson
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes
It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Atticus Finch
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes
Lula stopped, but she said, "You ain't got no business bringin' white chillun here—they got their church, we got our'n. It is our church, ain't it, Miss Cal?"

… When I looked down the pathway again, Lula was gone. In her place was a solid mass of colored people.

One of them stepped from the crowd. It was Zeebo, the garbage collector. "Mister Jem," he said, "we're mighty glad to have you all here. Don't pay no 'tention to Lula, she's contentious because Reverend Sykes threatened to church her. She's a troublemaker from way back, got fancy ideas an' haughty ways—we're mighty glad to have you all."
Related Characters: Lula (speaker), Jean Louise Finch (Scout), Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem), Calpurnia, Reverend Sykes
Page Number: 158-159
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes
Somewhere, I had received the impression that Fine Folks were people who did the best they could with the sense they had, but Aunt Alexandra was of the opinion, obliquely expressed, that the longer a family had been squatting on one patch of land the finer it was.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Aunt Alexandra
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 14 Quotes
Dill's eyes flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor. Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood. He went out of the room and down the hall. "Atticus," his voice was distant, "can you come here a minute, sir?"

Beneath its sweat-streaked dirt Dill's face went white. I felt sick.



Jem was standing in a corner of the room, looking like the traitor he was. "Dill, I had to tell him," he said. "You can't run three hundred miles off without your mother knowin'."

We left him without a word.
Related Characters: Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem) (speaker), Jean Louise Finch (Scout), Atticus Finch, Charles Baker Harris (Dill)
Page Number: 187-188
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes
"Well how do you know we ain't Negroes?"

"Uncle Jack Finch says we really don't know. He says as far as he can trace back the Finches we ain't, but for all he knows we mighta come straight out of Ethiopia durin' the Old Testament."

"Well if we came out durin' the Old Testament it's too long ago to matter."

"That's what I thought," said Jem, "but around here once you have a drop of Negro blood, that makes you all black."
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem)
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 25 Quotes
Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Atticus Finch, Tom Robinson, Mayella Ewell
Page Number: 323
Explanation and Analysis:

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[Jem] was certainly never cruel to animals, but I had never known his charity to embrace the insect world.

"Why couldn't I mash him?" I asked.

"Because they don't bother you," Jem answered in the darkness. He had turned out his reading light.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem) (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Mockingbird
Page Number: 320
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 31 Quotes
A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing pole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention. It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's. . . . Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive. Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog. Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him. Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem), Atticus Finch, Arthur Radley (Boo), Charles Baker Harris (Dill), Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
Page Number: 374
Explanation and Analysis:

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When they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things . . . Atticus, he was real nice. . . ." His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them." He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker), Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem), Arthur Radley (Boo)
Page Number: 376
Explanation and Analysis:

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Jean Louise Finch (Scout) Character Timeline in To Kill a Mockingbird

The timeline below shows where the character Jean Louise Finch (Scout) appears in To Kill a Mockingbird. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
The narrator, Jean Louise Finch, who goes by the nickname Scout, begins to tell the story of how her brother Jem broke his arm. She starts... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...Calpurnia cooks and helps Atticus with the children during the day. Atticus's wife died when Scout was two. (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
One year when Scout is six and Jem is nine, a small and imaginative seven-year-old named Charles "Dill" Baker... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...he'll give Jem a Gray Ghost comic book touches the Radley house. Jem does it. Scout thinks she sees someone watching them from behind a curtain inside the house. (full context)
Chapter 2
Growing Up Theme Icon
When summer ends, Dill returns to Mississippi. Scout starts her first year of school. She hates it from the first day. Her teacher,... (full context)
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...go home to eat. Miss Caroline offers to lend Walter a quarter, but he refuses. Scout tries to explain that the Cunningham's are so poor they couldn't pay Miss Caroline back,... (full context)
Chapter 3
Growing Up Theme Icon
Outside, Scout beats Walter up because helping him got her into trouble. Jem stops her, and invites... (full context)
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
As he eats, Walter pours molasses all over his food. Scout is disgusted and says so. Calpurnia pulls her from the table and scolds her, saying... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
That night, when Scout says that Miss Caroline wants her to stop reading at home, Atticus counsels that instead... (full context)
Chapter 4
Growing Up Theme Icon
One day, while running past the Radley house on her way home from school, Scout notices some gum in the knothole of a tree overhanging the Radley's fence. And on... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Dill arrives for the summer. After an accident rolling a tire that leaves Scout lying on the pavement right next to the Radley's house, Jem comes up with a... (full context)
Chapter 5
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Jem and Dill start excluding Scout, who begins to spend more time with Miss Maudie Atkinson, a neighbor who grew up... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
The next day, Dill and Jem get Scout to help them try to slip a note through a window of the Radley house... (full context)
Chapter 6
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Dill's last night in Maycomb, he and Jem decide to peek into the Radley house. Scout, terrified, tags along. They sneak behind the Radley house, but see the shape of a... (full context)
Chapter 7
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Scout starts second grade, which is as bad as first grade. One day as they walk... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Scout and Jem continue to find things in the knothole of the tree: twine, soap carved... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Atticus tells Jem it wasn't. Jem stares at the Radley house for a long time. Scout thinks he might be crying, but can't understand why. (full context)
Chapter 8
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
That winter it snows in Maycomb for the first time since 1885. Scout and Jem use dirt covered with snow to make a snowman that looks remarkably like... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Scout and Jem watch the fire from in front of the Radley house down the street.... (full context)
Chapter 9
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
Students at school start saying that Atticus "defends niggers." When Scout asks why, Atticus says he's defending a black man named Tom Robinson. Atticus says he... (full context)
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...from Boston and all the Finch's gather at Finch's landing to spend the holidays with Scout's dreaded Aunt Alexandra and her awful grandson Francis. At Finch's landing, Francis calls Atticus a... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Back in Maycomb, Scout tells Uncle Jack why she hit Francis, but makes him promise not to say anything... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...black person comes up. He says the trial will be particularly tough on Jem and Scout. (full context)
Chapter 10
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Atticus is older than other kids' parents, and Scout and Jem are sometimes embarrassed by their father's bookishness. When he gave Jem and Scout... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
...to hit the dog from such a distance. Atticus kills the dog in one shot. Scout and Jem, astonished, learn that when Atticus was young he was the best shot in... (full context)
Chapter 11
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
One day, Mrs. Dubose, an old woman who harasses Scout and Jem whenever they walk past her house, condemns Atticus for defending Tom Robinson. Jem,... (full context)
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As punishment, Atticus makes Jem go and read to Mrs. Dubose each afternoon. Scout goes with him. At first, each reading session is cut short by Mrs. Dubose's strange... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Summer finally comes, but Scout is crushed when Dill doesn't arrive because his mother got remarried. To makes matters worse,... (full context)
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Calpurnia, who's in charge when Atticus is away, invites Scout and Jem to attend her church that Sunday. The all-black congregation gladly welcomes the Finch... (full context)
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During the service, the congregation gathers money to support Helen, Tom Robinson's wife. Scout realizes Tom Robinson is the man Atticus is defending, and asks what he did. Calpurnia... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Scout, Jem, and Calpurnia return from church to discover that Aunt Alexandra has moved into the... (full context)
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...of the Finch family's social status in Maycomb, and immediately begins to socialize in Maycomb. Scout thinks good people are defined by doing the best they can with what they have,... (full context)
Chapter 14
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As the summer progresses, Scout and Jem notice grownups in Maycomb talking about them. Scout hears the word "rape" again,... (full context)
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Scout's question leads to the story of going to Calpurnia's church. Aunt Alexandra is horrified. She... (full context)
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That night, Jem tells Scout not to antagonize Aunt Alexandra, but Scout objects to him telling her what to do.... (full context)
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...Miss Rachel Haverford where Dill is, but lets Dill spend the night. Dill sleeps in Scout's room, and tells her he ran away from home because his recently married parents aren't... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...someone might try to hurt Atticus. When Atticus drives into town the next night, Jem, Scout, and Dill sneak out after him. They finally spot Atticus sitting alone, reading, outside the... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...never liked black people, which makes his behavior of the previous night seem odd to Scout. (full context)
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Though Atticus tells Jem, Scout, and Dill that they shouldn't attend the trial, they sneak in. They arrive late, and... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Dill starts to cry and Scout takes him outside. Dill says he can't stand the way Gilmer was talking to Tom. (full context)
Chapter 20
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...drunk and lives with a black woman and has fathered interracial children. But Dill and Scout learn that Raymond isn't actually a drunk: he only drinks Coca-cola. Mr. Raymond explains that... (full context)
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Atticus is making his closing remarks when Dill and Scout get back to their seats. Atticus notes the prosecution's lack of evidence, then says the... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Calpurnia enters the courtroom. She tells Atticus that Jem, Scout, and Dill are missing. Mr. Underwood says they're sitting in the balcony. Atticus tells them... (full context)
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An hour later, Scout, Jem, and Dill get back to the silent, tense courtroom. The jury is still deliberating.... (full context)
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...calls the court to order. The jury comes back and does not look at Tom. Scout knows this means the verdict is guilty. It is. (full context)
Chapter 23
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Jem and Scout are terrified Ewell will attack Atticus. Atticus, thinks Ewell has already gotten the need for... (full context)
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...that one man on the jury, a Cunningham, almost voted for acquittal. This news inspires Scout to declare she's going to invite Walter Cunningham to dinner, but Aunt Alexandra forbids it.... (full context)
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Later that night, Scout and Jem try to figure out why people are prejudiced. They come up with all... (full context)
Chapter 24
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One Saturday, Aunt Alexandra invites company, and tells Scout to help Calpurnia serve. At the event, Mrs. Grace Merriweather talks about helping the poor... (full context)
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Just then, Atticus comes home and tells Calpurnia, Aunt Alexandra, Miss Maudie, and Scout that Tom tried to escape from prison and was killed. Calpurnia leaves with him. Aunt... (full context)
Chapter 25
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A few nights later, Scout spots a roly-poly bug. Jem won't let her squash it because it didn't do anything... (full context)
Chapter 26
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School starts. As a third grader, Scout is no longer frightened of Boo Radley. She is confused, however, when the town, which... (full context)
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In school, Scout's class discusses Nazi Germany. Scout asks Jem why her teacher, Miss Gates, would say persecuting... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...will calm down when the weather cools. For Halloween that year, there's a pageant at Scout's school. Scout is to be a giant ham—her costume is made of wire and cloth.... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...On the way to the pageant Cecil Jacobs jumps from behind a bush and scares Scout and Jem. Then Scout falls asleep and misses her cue to go onstage and is... (full context)
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As Jem and Scout walk home alone (Scout still in her costume) they hear a noise, and then are... (full context)
Chapter 29
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Scout tells Heck Tate everything that happened, and as she does realizes that the pale man... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...decides that Boo was saving other people's lives and doesn't need more attention. Atticus asks Scout if she understands. Scout says she does: bringing attention to Boo would be like shooting... (full context)
Chapter 31
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A little later, Scout escorts Boo back to the Radley House. After Boo has gone inside, she looks out... (full context)
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When she gets back, Atticus is reading in Jem's room. Scout asks Atticus to read to her and rests her head against his knee. He picks... (full context)