What three important life lessons did  Scout and Jem learn through the course of events in To Kill a Mockingbird and how do they learn them?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1: The children learn a significant lesson regarding the importance of protecting innocent beings throughout the novel. In chapter 10, Atticus tells Jem and Scout that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, because they cause no harm and simply bring joy to the world. Mockingbirds symbolize any innocent being, and the children metaphorically apply Atticus's lesson. After witnessing racial injustice, Jem becomes sympathetic to the needs of defenseless beings, and Scout comprehends the importance of protecting Boo from the community's limelight.

2: In chapter 11, Atticus forces Jem to read to their chronically sick, racist neighbor, Mrs. Dubose. After she dies, the children learn that she was able to conquer her morphine addiction before she passed away. Atticus explains to his children that Mrs. Dubose was the most courageous person he's ever met. Jem and Scout learn that real courage is "when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what" (Lee, 166). As the novel progresses, they also witness their father demonstrate real courage when he defends Tom Robinson in front of a prejudiced jury.

3: Jem and Scout also the learn the importance of exercising tolerance. Atticus encourages Scout to fight with her head and not her fists, which is something Scout struggles with as a young child. Jem learns the importance of accepting his prejudiced neighbors following Tom's wrongful conviction. Despite being jaded, Jem learns from Atticus the importance of loving his neighbors and guiding them in the right direction.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From Boo Radley the children learn that things (and rumors) are not always what they seem. At first believing that Boo is a bloodthirsty ghoul guilty of all "stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb," they eventually see that he is a neighbor who only wants to be their friend. By the end of the novel, Boo becomes their saviour, coming to their rescue and finally revealing himself by saving their lives from the murderous hands of Bob Ewell.

The children learn that the jury has already made up its mind about Tom Robinson's guilt, and nothing Atticus can say (or prove) will change their minds. "... In the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed." Jem believes juries should be abolished and he questions whether "Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world" after all.

Jem and Scout discover that Atticus isn't as "feeble" as they have come to believe. He has a secret talent that he has never revealed--he was once the finest marksman in Maycomb County--but it is one of which he is not proud. His "unfair advantage over most living things" is something that shames him, partly because of his humble nature. Miss Maudie explains that "People in their right minds never take pride in their talents," and Jem wants to emulate his father. "Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!"

mattysmalls | Student

you dont jjudge somebody that you see that is scary or like tom robinson because you do not know what they are like because you havent lived there life and you dont judge someone until you have been in there shoes or in there life.

boogey--lee | Student

1. That being brave, is continuing on dound something right even when you know you are alreday defeated

2. It is a sin to kill a mockingbird, menaing don't hurt someone else or push them down when they are already hurt or defenseless. example tom robinson, was  amockingbird, e didnt do anyhting worng but help out Mayella ewell but he was still punished for nothing he had done.

3.Dont judge someone until you have walked around in their shoes. Atticus explaiend this leasson to the kids.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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