Chart the loss of innocence of the young characters Jem and Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. Discuss these changes.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator


  • Their loss of innocence started with the death of their mother to a heart attack.
  • Scout discovers that all school teachers are not particularly fair or adept in their field.
  • They learn that all children do not have the quality of home life that they experience.
  • Scout is taught by Atticus to "climb into his skin" first to better understand other people's actions.
  • Scout learns the definition of "compromise."
  • They come to realize that the terrible stories spread about Boo Radley are not true.
  • Jem discovers that adults lie and can be cruel to even their own family members (ex: Nathan Radley cementing the knothole).
  • They learn that bad things happen to good people (ex: Miss Maudie's house burning).
  • Scout learns that flying fists don't always solve arguments.
  • They discover that Atticus is not "feeble," and that he has hidden talents (ex: marksmanship).
  • They learn the definition of humility.
  • Jem learns that heroism comes in many forms.
  • They see first-hand the poverty level of Maycomb's black population.
  • They come to realize that not all of their Finch ancestors were upstanding citizens and that all "Fine Folks" are not really fine folks.
  • They discover how Atticus came to take on the defense of Tom Robinson.
  • They discover that not all juries are just.
  • Scout discovers the real truth about Dolphus Raymond.
  • Through Tom Robinson, Dolphus Raymond and Boo Radley, they find that people are not always what they appear to be.
  • They come to realize the dangers of Atticus' job.
  • Scout realizes that not all ladies are really ladies.
  • Scout sees that devout people do not always practice what they preach.
  • Through Bob Ewell, they discover the depths of evil in some men.
  • Scout finally understands Atticus' admonition that it's "a sin to kill a mockingbird."
  • Scout sees first-hand that Boo has been their friend and protector all along.
  • Scout comes to realize that most people--even those who are thought to be different--are "real nice."
Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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