One of the central themes of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird is the duality of human nature. All humans have the ability to be both good and bad, moral and immoral. This scene exposes the hypocrisy amongst the white population in Maycomb and the skewed ideology of Miss Gates. Miss Gates displays her ability to show sympathy towards one group of people (Jews) while she ignores the plight of another group (African Americans). While Miss Gates condemns Hitler's actions for persecuting the Jews, she discriminates against African Americans in her own community.
This scene is significant to the plot because it is the first time Scout becomes aware of the hypocrisy of Maycomb's community members. Scout gains perspective into the duality of human nature. Scout asks Jem the important question, "How can you hate Hitler so bad an' then turn around and be ugly to folks right at home?" (Lee 331) The fact that Scout is questioning Miss Gates' hypocrisy is significant to the plot because it shows Scout's moral development.