What are three of the lessons that Scout learns throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and their effect on the maturation of her character?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Three lessons that Scout learns during To Kill a Mockingbird are empathy, self-control and courage. 

First of all, Scout learns empathy on several occasions.  Atticus tells her that she will get along with people better if she learns to think like them.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-…"-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." (ch 3)

Scout first learns this when she has a problem with her new teacher Miss Caroline.  She applies it first to understanding Mayella Ewell, and then Boo Radley.

Scout also learns self-control.  Atticus is concerned that Scout is going to lose her head fighting.  He warns her to be careful.

I was far too old and too big for such childish things, and the sooner I learned to hold in, the better off everybody would be. (ch 9)

Eventually, Scout learns to walk away from fist-fights.  She comes to understand that people will look at the world in a different way than she does, but there is nothing she can do about it.  Her father is a good role model in this respect, since he does not fight Bob Ewell even though the man spits in his face.

Finally, Scout learns the importance of courage.  Atticus finds it important to teach his children that courage comes in many forms.

I wanted you to see something about her- I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. (ch 11)

Scout sees this view of courage not just in Mrs. Dubose’s fight addiction, but also her father’s defense of Tom Robinson.  She learns to stand up for what she believes in.


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