Comparing Scouts InfluencesIn your opinion, in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird did Jem Finch, Mr. Dolphus Raymond or Tom Robinson teach Scout the most valuable life lessons and what did they teach...

Comparing Scouts Influences

In your opinion, in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird did Jem Finch, Mr. Dolphus Raymond or Tom Robinson teach Scout the most valuable life lessons and what did they teach her?  

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e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Jem seems like a candidate for this accolade. Through his changes, Scout realizes her own potential for change. He becomes a figure of contrast for her, which she sometimes resents but which ultimately helps her to learn some valuable and important lessons about restraint and courage. Additionally, Jem is closest to Scout and so in a position to teach her more than anyone else.

vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree with the earlier answer, partly because Scout describes the "lessons" that Dolphus Raymond actually verbalizes. Apparently they were important enough to her that she actually remembered them and included them, explicitly, in her own narrative of events. The fact that Raymond correctly predicts the outcome of the trial is also something she never apparently forgot.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

A very thought-provoking question....

Since Scout has lived with Calpurnia, she has grown to see blacks as people; in fact, Calpurnia is an integral part of her family, a mother-figure, an equal.  So, for her to perceive Tom as a kind, polite man is not something unusual for her. 

On the other hand, when Scout becomes aware of Mr. Dolphus Raymond, she has some of her prejudices turned on edge.  For one thing, she does not understand why he lives with the black people and has had children.  When he speaks to the children, Scout realizes that he is not the drunken fool as he has been portrayed by the townspeople.  His revelation that he merely pretends to be drunk in order to appease the consciences of the townspeople opens Scout's perception of the social mores of her town, mores that are difficult, if not impossible, to conquer.  Besides these new perceptions, Mr. Raymond also provides Scout and Jem and Dill with other insights into the adult world of their town. Indeed, Scout learns valuable lessons from this maverick of the town.

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