The role of education in To Kill a Mockingbird is complex.
Learning vs. Schooling
In many ways, education is seen as vital to a meaningful life. As a lawyer, Atticus has more education than the vast majority of Maycomb. In the first years of his working life, Atticus then pays for his younger brother's education in medicine, as well. Both Finch brothers are presented as good, intelligent, progressive characters.
Informal education is vital to Scout's development. She is said to have been a reader "since she was born" and lives for her nightly reading sessions with Atticus. Calpurnia (who Scout describes as "more educated" than most "colored folks" in Maycomb) teaches Scout to write before she even begins school, making writing an integral part of Scout's early childhood.
Conversely, many of the more negatively portrayed characters have refused education. The Ewells are notorious for refusing to attend school, and thus are illiterate as well as mean and antisocial.
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