To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Contributed by Sharon Fleming
Chapter 2

As September sets in, Dill leaves Maycomb for Meridian, Mississippi, just before Jem and Scout started school. Scout is excited to begin first grade, since she has been watching other kids go to school from her treehouse. However, her first day was not as good as she expected. Her teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher, gets frustrated when she realizes that she is so enthusiastic about reading and writing, and tells her that her father should stop teaching her because he doesn't know how to teach. Miss Fisher is new to Maycomb and hence doesn't understand the social structure of the town, and she awkwardly confronts a student named Walter Cunningham who comes from a very poor family. She offers to buy him lunch because he didn't carry any, but Walter says he has no means of paying her back and Scout explains that the Cunninghams don't take what they can't pay back. Although she meant well, the teacher sends Scout to stand in a corner, confusing her further on what she thought was a helpful interruption.


Chapter 2 reveals how intelligent and observant Scout is, although she is only six years old. She can read and write very well, something that really frustrates her teacher, Miss Caroline. The readers learn from Scout’s perspective that reading came to her as simply and as naturally as breathing. Another significant aspect in this chapter is Scout’s teacher Miss Caroline who is young and inexperienced. There is an important comparison that can be drawn from Miss Caroline’s unwillingness to understand the people of Maycomb and the people’s unwillingness to understand one another.

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