Can you give me a quote showing that Scout is maturing in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Classified as a bildungsroman, or a novel concerned with the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist, To Kill a Mockingbird has any number of instances in which Scout demonstrates her maturation.

In Chapter 7 after Jem has torn his pants on the Radleys' fence, he tells Scout that he must retrieve his pants; otherwise, Mr. Nathan Radley will find them in the morning. So, when Jem returns with his pants at 2:00 a.m., Scout is relieved to see that he is all right and keeps quiet. Jem remains moody for a week, but Scout does not bother him.

Jem stayed moody and silent for a week. As Atticus had once advised me to do, I tried to climb into Jem's skin and walk around in it: if I had gone alone to the Radley Place at two in the morning, my funeral would have been held the next afternoon. So I left Jem alone and tried not to bother him. (Ch.7)

In Chapter 9 Scout clenches her fists and is "ready to let fly" at Cecil Jacobs because he has accused her father of defending n****rs. This accusation makes her forget that Atticus has promised to "wear out" Scout if she fights anymore.

I drew a bead on him, remembered what Atticus had said, then dropped my fists and walked away... It was the first time I ever walked away from a fight. (Ch.9)

Although Scout falls into her old ways soon after this incident, she realizes her failure in obeying Atticus. After her cousin named Francis insults Atticus, Scout cannot control herself enough to not strike him in the mouth. But, she does demonstrate a certain maturity in trying to keep her father from more anxiety about the Tom Robinson case. For as her Uncle Jack tends to her torn knuckles, she asks him to promise not to tell her father about her fight over Atticus. "I'd ruther him think we were fightin' about somethin' else instead. Please promise...." (Ch.9)

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several good examples of Scout's ascendancy toward adulthood in To Kill a Mockingbird. Perhaps the best one comes in the final chapter, when she stands on the Radley porch looking out over her neighborhood.

I had never seen our neighborhood from this angle... As I made my way home, I felt very old... As I made my way home, I though Jem and I would get grown but there wasn't much else left for us to learn, except possibly algebra.

Another example comes during the Missionary Circle meeting after Atticus has announced the death of Tom Robinson (Chapter 24).

I carefully picked up the tray and watched myself walk toward Mrs. Merriweather. With my best company manners, I asked her if she would have some.
    After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 30, after Scout has recounted the events under the tree (the fight with Mr. Ewell which ended in his death) Mr. Tate finalizes the events with:

"Bob Ewell fell on his knife.  He killed himself."

Atticus will not take this answer though, because he (at first) thinks it is Jem who killed Mr. Ewell.  After much argument, Mr. Tate indirectly infers that it was actually Boo who stabbed Mr. Ewell, therefore he will maintain that it was an accidental suicide.  When Atticus asks Scout if she can "possibly understand," she responds with:

"Yes sir I understand... Mr. Tate was right... it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?"

This pattern of events and final quote of Scout's shows she finally has an understanding of who Boo is, and how the small town of Maycomb works.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question