In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, what, if any, positive lesson(s) does Scout learn from Aunt Alexandra?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Chapter 13, Alexandra tries to encourage Atticus to teach Scout and Jem about their family heritage. She wants the children to recognize that they come from a respectable family, one which is socially superior to families like the Ewells and the Cunninghams. Atticus begins to give them this lesson, but regrets it and tells them to forget it. He doesn't want the children to think they are better than other people simply based upon family name, social class, or race. So, he concludes with: "I don't want you to remember it. Forget it." So, this lesson doesn't really stick because Atticus vetoes it. 

At the end of Chapter 24, Atticus informs Calpurnia, Scout, Miss Maudie, and Aunt Alexandra that Tom Robinson has been shot while trying to escape. Everyone is emotionally affected at hearing the news. Atticus asks Calpurnia to accompany him to go see Helen. Aunt Alexandra is angry that the people of Maycomb have made Atticus do what they are afraid to do (represent Tom in court). Miss Maudie replies that this is an honor; they trust him to do the right thing. Scout is shaking because she envisions the yard where Tom had been shot. Miss Maudie seems to calm Scout and Aunt Alexandra down. Aunt Alexandra shows real compassion and empathy for Atticus but, with Miss Maudie's help, is able to compose herself and return to the missionary circle's meeting. Aunt Alexandra teaches Scout to "be a lady" even in emotionally traumatic times. In other words, Scout learns to compose herself and act with strength: 

Aunt Alexandra looked across the room at me and smiled. She looked at a tray of cookies on the table and nodded at them. I carefully picked up the tray and watched myself walk to 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. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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