In the exposition of the novel, Scout begins school. But, who really is Scout's most important teacher and why?To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Thank you! :D  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In many instances, experience is Scout's greatest and most important teacher.  As a keen listener and observer of people and circumstances, Scout is able to learn much from her various experiences: 

  • From observing Miss Caroline's insensitive remarks to her students on the first day, Scout learns that formal education does not always prepare people for some of life's situations.
  • From witnessing the talk about Miss Stephanie Crawford, Scott learns that gossiping is dangerous and unappreciated by others.
  • From her interaction with Calpurnia, Scout learns that she should be respectful to anyone who is a guest in her home and that "people are people." 
  • From the actions of Boo Radley, who mends Jem's pants, places gifts in the knothole of a tree, and comes to the defense of the children against the nefarious Bob Ewell, Scott learns the goodness of the man she has perceived as a "haint" and psychotic recluse.
  • From Miss Maudie's reactions to the loss of her house, Scout learns that the things that count are not what can be counted.
  • From the hypocrisy of Miss Merriweather at the Missionary Tea and Miss Maudie's retort and her aunt Alexandra's reactions, Scout also experiences other incidences of loyalty and honesty as important values.
  • From her introduction to Mr. Raymond Dolphus, Scout learns how appearances can be deceiving, as well as how cruel the conventions of a small town can be.
  • From hearing the testimony of Bob and Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson, Scout learns that color has nothing to do with the character or lack of in a person.
  • From the mob's and the jury's actions regarding Tom Robinson, Scout learns of the darkness in men's hearts.
  • From the courageous actions of her father against a rabid dog as well as a town rabid with racial prejudice, his patience and understanding, his counsel, his loyalty to Calpurnia and his children, his integrity in all matters,especially in the trial of Tom Robinson, even in what he supposes is Jem's killing of Ewell, Scout learns what it is to be "a gentleman in his heart."
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To Kill a Mockingbird

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