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Part of Scout's maturing process comes naturally during To Kill a Mockingbird, in which she grows from the age of five to eight years old. But many memorable events occur during these two and one-half years, creating a loss of innocence that comes much more quickly than in most children her age. It all begins when she meets Dill early in the novel. Dill not only spurs the children's curiosity about Boo Radley, but he also serves as a child love interest for Scout. She eagerly awaits the arrival of Dill each summer; he proposes to her, she accepts, and they share secret kisses together.
... he would love me forever... and marry me as soon as he got enough money together... summer was the swiftness with which Dill would reach up and kiss me when Jem was not looking, the longings we sometimes felt each other feel... without him, life was unbearable.
With the gifts that come in the secret knothole, Scout soon realizes that the terrible rumors about Boo are not true.
The Radley Place had ceased to terrify me... I sometimes felt a twinge of remorse... at ever having taken part in what must have been sheer torment to Arthur Radley.
She fantasizes about meeting Boo, how he would "be sitting in the swing," and she would say, "Hidy do, Mr. Arthur?" But she never believes their meeting will actually occur.
She discovers for herself that the differences between white and black people are only skin deep (as symbolized by the Morphodite Snowman); but she also finds out about the "secret courts of men's hearts" when the jury disregards the testimony given and convicts Tom Robinson unjustly of rape. Scout also discovers the true meanings of two of Atticus' reminders--that "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird," and how it is important to know people before judging them, to "climb into his skin and walk around in it" first. She sees first-hand that teachers do not always practice what they preach, and that proper ladies do not always act ladylike (ex: missionary circle tea). In the final chapters she not only sees Boo in the flesh, but finds that he is her neighbor and friend.
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.
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