Although Scout learns many life lessons in the three years during which the novel takes place, the three most significant invole the ideas of justice and injustice, courage and acceptance.
What are some examples of each?
- Miss Maudie's retorts with Biblical quotations to the "footwashing fundamentalists" who pass by and criticize her
- Miss Maudie's satiric comment to Mrs. Merriweather at the missionary tea. After Mrs. Merriweather berates "the misguided people" who simply stir up the Negroes, she complains about her maid Sophy whom she says she only keeps because of the depression. Then Miss Maudie asks her, "His [meaning Mr. Merriweather's] doesn't stick going down?" implying the Merriweather's hypocrisy since Mr. Merriweather has no trouble eating the food prepared by this "sulky, disastified...Negro."
- Bob Ewell receives a poetic justice as he dies after having caused the death of the innocent Tom Robinson
- Tom Robinson receives some justice in the hearts of others such as in the editorial of Mr. Underwood who defends the innocence of Tom Robinson, likening his death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds. He implies that Tom was simply condemned in the "secret courts of men's hearts."
- The good Boo Radley receives recognition as a good man after he saves the lives of Jem and Scout Finch.
- The supersitious treatment of Boo Radley and the mental and emotional abuse by Mr. Radley and Nathan Radley
- The belief that Mr. Dolphus Raymond is an alcoholic
- The fundamentalists' criticisms of Miss Maudie
Injustice can be shown in the inadequate trial of Tom Robinson and the lack of a trial for Bob Ewell. Justice could be seen in Atticus receiving and maintainingteh respect of the whole community after the trial, and acting as a bridge between tehm. The strength of Atticus in carrying out his job and maintaining his integrity is also representative of courage.
- Mrs. Dubose's unusual style, in which she goes cold turkey to rid herself of a morphine addiction before she dies.
- Atticus' decision to defend Tom Robinson, knowing it will bring him and his family trouble.
- Atticus' stand at the jail, defending Tom from the lynch mob.
- Jem's defense of Scout when Bob Ewell attacks them.
Acceptance -- when Scout learns that she has to treat Walter Cunningham as an equal.
Justice and injustice -- the major example of this is the Tom Robinson trial. Scout has to accept that an innocent man can be convicted in a court of law.