To Kill a Mockingbird traces Scout's growing awareness of the adult world. Identify her experiences and comment on how they affect her.I just need ideas and suggestions for quotes. I would...

To Kill a Mockingbird traces Scout's growing awareness of the adult world. Identify her experiences and comment on how they affect her.

I just need ideas and suggestions for quotes. I would preferably like it to be from varying characters and, if possible, NOT Atticus.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout notices a great many things and has experiences that change the way she sees the adult world around her.

There are quite a few things that take place in the story that are told through Scout's eyes, but affect Jem more deeply because he is older and has a deeper understanding about the world at large—specifically the world of adults. There is a great deal that the children are not privy to. Some of the things they learn about are gleaned from sneaking around and getting into things of which they have no business being a part.

Two things that change the way Scout looks at the adult world both involve Boo Radley.

Boo a central figure in the story, but he really only makes one stunning appearance at the story's end.

The first incident involves the little gifts that are left in the knothole of a tree near their house on the way home from school. Scout discovers the hole first. In it are two pieces of chewing gum:

I ran home, and examined my loot. The gum looked fresh. I sniffed it and it smelled all right. I licked it and waited for awhile. When I did not die I crammed it into my mouth...

When she tells Jem about what she found, he makes Scout spit it out and use mouthwash. This is a reflection of the fear the children have of the Radley property. The children discuss what it could mean and look forward to the end of school.

Then one day as they approach the tree, both notice something shiny in the knothole. Jem retrieves it and they take it home. Inside a jewelry box they find two polished Indian pennies. Summer comes and goes. When school starts up again, the gifts in the knothole start arriving again: a ball of grey string, soap carvings of two children, a pack of gum, and a broken watch and pocket knife both on a chain. Jem and Scout had long since decided that whatever they found in the tree was theirs to keep. However, they thought they should leave a thank you note. They write one, but the next day, they make a terrible discovery:

Someone had filled our knot-hole with cement.

Jem is more upset than Scout, but he goes about comforting her, telling her not to cry. For two days they wait on the porch for Mr. Nathan Radley to pass by. When he does, Jem asks if he cemented up the hole. Mr. Radley concurs.

"Why'd you do it, sir?"

"Tree's dying. You plug 'em with cement when they're sick. You ought to know that, Jem."

Jem is thoughtful, but when Atticus arrives home, Jem asks his father about the health of the tree. Atticus says it looks healthy and green. When Jem explains that Mr. Radley said it was sick, Atticus is diplomatic, noting that Mr. Radley would know better about his trees than Atticus would.

Scout is a witness to all this, listening to Mr. Radley tell his lie. Jem is the one who takes it really hard, crying privately. I think this situation is a puzzle to Jem more than to Scout—Mr. Radley's real intent is clear to Jem. We can also infer that Scout and Jem have learned to be more wary than usual of Mr. Radley. There can be no doubt that Mr. Radley was not truthful, and Atticus does not lie to them. A father at an older age than most parents, Atticus' parenting style is slightly different. He treats his kids like young adults. Telling the truth is a sign of his moral compass, his desire to set a good example for his children. Scout speaks honestly about what she observes. And while she may not know exactly why the knothole was filled, she knows the tree is not dying.

The second situation is something that changes Scout forever. Toward the end of the novel, Jem and Scout find themselves coming home late from a pageant at school. Scout is wearing her ham costume and her visibility is limited though the small hole made for her eyes. Suddenly they are attacked, and Jem takes the worst of the beating as Bob Ewell tries to murder the children. Scout gets beaten up a little, but her costume offers some protection. All of a sudden, someone steps in, though Scout cannot see who. Bob Ewell is killed and someone is carrying the unconscious Jem home.

In all of the confusion, with the doctor arriving and then the sheriff, and Scout's relentless concern over Jem, she does not pay a great deal of attention to the man who carried Jem home. 

He was some countryman I did not know. He had probably been at the pageant, and was in the vicinity when it happened. He must have heard our screams and come running.

The sheriff looks at the man in the corner and then everyone else and suggests that they sit down. 

I wondered why Atticus had not brought a chair for the man in the corner, but Atticus knew the ways of country people far better than I...This one was probably more comfortable where he was.

Scout cannot know how true her statement is. The sheriff asks Scout to recount what happened as best she can. When the sheriff asks who carried Jem carried home, she identifies the man in the corner.

He was still leaning against the wall. He had been leaning against the wall when I came into the room, his arms folded across his chest. As I pointed he brought his arms down and pressed the palms of his hands against the wall...white hands, sickly white hands that had never seen the sun, so white they stood out garishly against the dull cream wall in the dim light of Jem's room.

All of a sudden the world comes into focus for Scout.

...he hooked his thumbs in his belt. A strange small spasm shook him...but as I gazed at him in wonder the tension slowly drained from his face. His lips parted into a timid smile, and our neighbor's image blurred with my sudden tears.

"Hey, Boo," I said.

Under these strange circumstances, even in light of all that has occurred on this night, Scout acts the perfect hostess. She talks to "Mr. Arthur" politely and respectfully, with no shyness, and he follows as she leads him out to the porch to a rocking chair. Intuitively, Scout understands somehow that Boo will be more comfortable away from the porch lights. As the sheriff and her father talk, while Scout is uncertain of the nature of it, she knows that there is a "curious contest" of wills developing between these two adults. Without knowing much of the way of adults, she can reach each of the men clearly, see each man's own manner of stubbornness. 

Here again we see the honesty that Atticus has tried to demonstrate before his children, so different than Mr. Radley regarding the tree.

As the men debate, the sheriff makes note that...

...'d take somebody might used to the dark to make a competent witness...

It would take an unlikely hero, able to save the lives of two children—the lives of Boo's friends. For if anyone is comfortable in the dark, it has been established that it is Boo.

Atticus is slow to see that it was not Jem that killed Bob Ewell. After a great deal of discussion, the sheriff is able to make Atticus see that it was Boo Radley who stopped Ewell. And the sheriff notes that exposing him to the attention this news would draw would be a sinful thing to do. Atticus thinks he needs to explain what has happened...that the official story will be that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife. In this way, the sheriff can protect Boo from the publicity. However, Scout knows exactly what the discussion means. She tells her father that she agrees with the sheriff. Atticus asks what she means.

Well, it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?

Scout wants to protect the very person she and Jem have always been so fearful of. She wants to make sure that he is safe, just as her father has taught her...not to harm anything that harms no one else.

These two events demonstrate Scout's greater understanding of the world of adults and how this understanding affects her.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout's playtime frolics with Jem, and later Dill, are cut short when the more important and adult aspects of the novel (particularly the trial of Tom Robinson) begin to take precedent. The children's preoccupation with Boo Radley changes from childlike curiosity to a much more serious approach when the adults become involved. Atticus orders an end to playing the Radley Game and to "stop tormenting that man." Nathan Radley fires a shotgun blast as the children return from a supposedly innocent raid on the Radley's back porch, and then Boo's older brother seals the secret knothole, preventing the children from any further contact with Boo. Scout discovers that her "old" and apparently "feeble" father has a secret talent he has not revealed, and that the cantankerous Mrs. Dubose has a deathly reason for being so mean. Scout sees first-hand the poverty of the Quarters when she accompanies Calpurnia to her church, and she learns that Cal "led a modest double life" when not in the Finch household.

Scout feels the wrath of the angry citizens of Maycomb who are unhappy with Atticus defending Tom Robinson: She learns about rape, racism, and the how the "secret courts of men's hearts" can prejudice a jury and lead to the death of an innocent man. She witnesses the incompetence and unfairness that teachers display, and how even "the most devout woman in Maycomb" can be both hateful and hypocritical. Worst of all, Scout sees the evil in man when Bob Ewell attempts to extract revenge upon Atticus by killing his children. Her fantasy finally comes true when Boo appears to save her and Jem, and she experiences a ladylike moment when she escorts Boo home--the first and last time she will ever see her reclusive neighbor. Staring out over her neighborhood as if standing in Boo's shoes, she is able to feel how he must have felt when he stood watching them over the years; and she learns a last lesson from Atticus, how "Most people are [real nice]... when you finally see them," that applies to both the unfairly accused Stoner's Boy as well as to the innocent Boo.

eaglezz | Student

Someone goes to jcca....

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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