How does Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird experience growth and maturity? How does Scout remodel herself?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout Finch grows into a young lady who empathizes with others. 

Most of us change when we grow up. Scout experiences a lot during the years this book takes place. Throughout the course of her childhood she grows and matures into someone who considers the feelings of others as well as her own. 

Scout’s father Atticus tries to teach her empathy from a young age. He impresses upon her the importance of not making fun of the Radleys or spewing their family business in the yard for all to see. He also asks her to think about things from others’ points of view when she has trouble with her teacher. Atticus tells Scout to get inside another person’s skin and walk around in it to see things from the other person’s perspective. 

Atticus said I had learned many things today, and Miss Caroline had learned several things herself... We could not expect her to learn all Maycomb’s ways in one day, and we could not hold her responsible when she knew no better (Chapter 3).

This growing sense of perspective is evident in Scout’s perception of the trial. She becomes upset when people insult her father and asks him what he is doing that people take such an issue with. Atticus explains he is just defending a black man, and that is unpopular in Maycomb but he has to do it because it is the right thing to do and it is his job. 

During the trial, Scout watches the proceedings with growing understanding. Mayella Ewell, the white girl who accused Tom Robinson of rape, seems very lonely to Scout. She realizes things are not always as they seem. 

As Tom Robinson gave his testimony, it came to me that Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world. She was even lonelier than Boo Radley, who had not been out of the house in twenty-five years (Chapter 19). 

Scout understands there are issues of class at work here. Dolphus Raymond can live with his black woman and their kids, and people say it is just his way because he is from a good family. Mayella lives by the dump, and her father drinks away the Ewell family's welfare money. No one just accepts her the way she is.

Understanding her brother is sometimes harder for Scout.  As they get older, Scout and Jem grow apart. Scout does not understand Jem's behavior or perspective all the time, and she feels lonely. She always wants to be on equal footing with Jem, but there always seems to be a difference, either because of her gender or age. 

Scout comes full circle when she and Jem are rescued by Boo Radley. Bob Ewell attacks them and Boo saves them. Scout gets to live out a childhood fantasy by taking the gentle man’s hand and walking him home. Once on the Radley porch, Scout reflects on perspective: 

Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough (Chapter 31). 

Scout has turned into a little lady. She went from wandering around in overalls and climbing trees to helping her aunt host ladies' church meetings. Scout has an understanding of her place in society, and she has slowly come to accept it.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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