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What lessons do the children in To Kill a Mockingbird learn as they experience personal...

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thedarklady | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted July 4, 2010 at 11:15 PM via web

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What lessons do the children in To Kill a Mockingbird learn as they experience personal growth?

 

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 5, 2010 at 12:24 AM (Answer #1)

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Jem and Scout are given more freedom by their father than most children their age, and Atticus' trust in their good nature is proven time and again during the novel. The children follow Atticus' advice to put themselves in the other person's skin to better understand people. Scout learns that teachers are not perfect in spite of their superior education. Both children discover that the wild tales told about Boo have no factual basis. They discover that racism exists even among the strongest Christians in the town (the Missionary Circle). They find that justice is not always served (the jury's verdict in the Tom Robinson trial). They discover that Atticus is not as "feeble" as they fear, and that he has hidden talents that he deliberately preserves; through his acts they come to understand the meaning of humility. They see the evils of the world around them even in little Maycomb. They learn that a person's actions are not always what they seem (Dolphus Raymond) and that some people are exactly as they appear (Miss Maudie).

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 5, 2010 at 8:20 AM (Answer #2)

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Just to add a few lessons to the excellent response above,

  • Scout and Jem have learned to "climb into another's skin and walk around in it" as Scout realizes on the porch of Boo Radley where she attains his perspective and reflects upon all her other relevant experiences.
  • They have learned that there are no "haints."
  • They have learned the meaning of courage as they witnessed Mrs. Dubose's brave withdrawal from morphine addiction before she died, and Atticus's courage in shooting the rabid dog with a rifle, a weapon he normally abhors. 
  • Certainly, they also understand true valor in the witnessing of their father's facing of the mob and his commitment to the defense of Tom Robinson.
  • They have learned the true meaning of friendship from the loyal and genuine Miss Maudie who defends Atticus tothem and to the hypocritical others such as Mrs. Merriweather.
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fritzemeyerd | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 6, 2010 at 6:14 AM (Answer #3)

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1. Tolerance for others

2. Justice

3. Respect for others

4. Compassion

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