In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, what are some significant life lessons that Jem, Scout, and Dill learn from growing up in Maycomb, Alabama? 

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the novel, Jem, Scout, and Dill learn several significant life lessons from their experiences in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. Atticus teaches both Jem and Scout the importance of respecting and standing up for innocent beings. He not only tells them that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird but also valiantly defends Tom Robinson in front of a prejudiced jury. They also learn what "real courage" is through their interactions with Mrs. Dubose and from watching Atticus accept an unwinnable case. Jem and Scout learn the importance of being tolerant of other people's opinions even when they disagree with them, and how to maintain self-control in adverse situations. Following their experience with the Old Sarum bunch, Atticus shares with them the concept of mob mentality. Early in the novel, Scout learns the significance of viewing situations from other people's point of view, and that a person's conscience doesn't abide by majority rule. Miss Maudie teaches Scout how people can manipulate and twist religion, as well as the importance of not believing rumors.

Following the wrongful conviction of Tom Robinson, Jem, Scout, and Dill learn the negative, harmful effects of prejudice. They also realize that their openly magnanimous neighbors are racist against African Americans. Scout and Dill learn that some citizens, like Dolphus Raymond, go to extreme lengths to conceal their true feelings. Later on in the novel, Scout and Jem learn about Maycomb's caste system and compare their father's beliefs to the values of their community members. Jem, Scout, and Dill learn that in order to do the right thing and treat all people fairly, they must challenge the typical conceptions of Maycomb, Alabama.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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