In this essay, I will attempt to explain how Scout is used as a narrator telling the story and as a character, experiencing the story. As a reader, I will show how this technique use by Harper Lee influences us to feel certain emotions.
The first thing we notice when we look at Scout is that she is an adult telling her story through a child's point of view. This means she uses language that is very advanced, and she is able to explain what she sees in a more detailed way, whereas if it were the young Scout telling the story, the language might be more childish, and the reader would not be able to picture the story so clearly.However, although it is the adult Scout retelling her story, she does not give everything away. This interests the reader into guessing for themselves what the story is, and what is happening, which makes it a better book because the reader has to use their own imagination. For example, in Chapter 28, when Scout and Jem are being attacked by an unknown person, the narrator does not give everything away by telling us who this person, whose name we find out later, actually is.
This gives the chapter a sense of mystery, and keeps the reader hooked. She lives in the moment, and so does the reader. There are some points in the book where the communication and "relationship" between the narrator Scout and the young Scout as a character are so strong that it feels as though it is the character telling the story, and the reader forgets that it is actually Scout as an adult. On page 39, Scout finds a piece of chewing gum and begins to chew it.
This one of the moments where the reader gets lost in her world and it interests the reader through humour. We also often feel the presence of Scout as a narrator very clearly, for example when she is describing a scene or a place in detail, such as at the beginning on the book, where she describes Maycomb. The regular switching from adult Scout to young Scout makes the reader see things from an outsider's viewpoint to seeing things through Scout's own eyes.For example, the theme of prejudice and labelling is not explained to the reader in detail, but when the reader looks through Scout's eyes at the society of Maycomb, we realise a lot of things that Scout does not, such as the fact that Mr Dolphus Raymond is very unprejudiced against the black community, and like us, does not realise why people give them such a hard time. Whereas Scout calls him a "sinful man", and we get to see how she has been brought up to think in almost the same way as other Maycomb people.
Using Scout as a character, the narrator leaves the reader the job to work things out for themselves and feel their own emotions.Scout plays a big part in influencing this though. She encourages us to support individuality, for example when Aunt Alexandra invites the Maycomb women round for tea, and Miss Stephanie Crawford asks Scout what she wants to be when she grows up, she replies "..
. just a lady. " This makes the reader feel sad that Scout's individuality has been lost in having to conform, so it makes us support any sense of individuality in the rest of the book. Harper Lee probably conveys the same emotions through the narrator in a more subtle way, making the injustice blatantly obvious for us to see.
She also does this through the use of other characters such as Atticus. Overall, the involvement of Scout as a narrator, Scout as a character and us as the reader is all rolled into one. Often the reader experiences what Scout witnesses as if it were first hand. This allows Harper Lee to show her views on society in a subtle yet effective way through the reader's empathy with Scout.
This reminds me of Atticus' quote, which shows the readers relationship with Scout: "you never really get to know a person until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. "