How does Scout solve her problem with Walter Cunningham?


Quick Answer

In "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, Scout convinces Walter Cunningham to call off the mob that goes to the prison to lynch Tomas Robinson by being civil and polite with Cunningham. She also inquiries about his son and asks him to send his son her regards.

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Full Answer

The innocence that Scout expresses during this exchange causes Walter to realize his own inner goodness, which leads him to disperse the mob and leave the prison in peace. Scout's relationship with Walter's son in the beginning of the novel may have also contributed to his change of heart.

On Scout's first day of school, Walter Cunningham Jr. comes to class without any lunch. Walter's family is very poor, and Scout's teacher, Miss Fisher, offers to give Walter a quarter to buy lunch, as long as he pays her back. However, Scout interjects that Walter is poor and can't afford to pay Miss Fisher back. Scout gets in trouble and blames Walter, treating him poorly on the playground during the following recess. Jem, Scout's brother, saves Walter from Scout and invites the boy over to have lunch at their house. At lunch, Scout again makes fun of Walter for putting maple syrup all over his food, not realizing that this is probably the most that Walter has had to eat in a long time. Scout is scolded by her father and housekeeper and realizes she should treat Walter with the respect he deserves.

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