In To Kill a Mockingbird, what scene can be "coming of age," and if so what chapter and page?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a number of moments in To Kill a Mockingbird when Scout and Jem learn something fundamental about human culture and, in turn, something about themselves. In fact, besides race relations and the history of the struggle for equality in the South, the novel is a coming of age text, mostly dealing with Scout's maturation. The reader gets a first person impression of this maturation because Scout is the narrator. So even when the subject shifts to things like equality and justice, the reader sees such things mediated through the mind of a young girl who is actually in the process of learning what these concepts mean and how society employs or fails to employ them.

With Scout, there is the moment near the end of Chapter 3 when she learns one of the biggest lessons, at least within the context of the novel. Scout is recounting her misunderstanding with Miss Caroline. Here, Atticus says, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-” (17). Scout remembers this and then uses it to consider things from the perspective of others: Jem, Ms. Dubose, Calpurnia and Boo Radley to name a few. This coming of age lesson is confirmed with the culmination of the novel. In Chapter 31, Scout walks Boo Radley home and literally sees the street from the perspective of his porch. “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” (148).  

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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