My class is reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and we were asked to show how Scout was before and after Tom's trial? 

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird, we see that Scout is a very feisty girl of six. The book opens in the summer and we see Jem and Scout living a carefree life. The only thing they have to worry about is getting out of yelling range of Calpurnia. This is the summer that they meet Dill and get the crazy idea of trying to make Boo Radley come out of his house. Scout is innocent and doesn't need to worry about the ways of other men. Her biggest concern is thinking about starting school for the first time in September. We know that Scout has a way of speaking her mind, and this usually leads to her getting into trouble.

By the time the trial of Tom Robinson comes around, we find that Scout has matured slightly. She no longer gets into many fights anymore, except with Cecil Jacobs and her cousin Francis, but this one done in defense of her father, Atticus. When Atticus takes the case to defend Tom Robinson, Scout begins to learn how people truly feel. Atticus had taught his children to respect all people, and Scout is shocked at some of the things people are saying about Tom and her father. 

Scout matures greatly while the trial is going on. She is calmer and begins to realize some of the ways of the world. When they verdict comes in, and Tom is found guilty, Scout is extremely upset and disappointed in the community she has grown up in. 

"twelve good men and true...The Mr. Underwood's meaning became clear. Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed."

Scout has learned by the end of the book, that men can be mean and cruel. She has matured enough to understand that just because Tom was black, it didn't matter that Atticus had proved he was innocent, he was guilty just because of the color of his skin. From the beginning of the book, we know that Scout is a strong willed girl, but has a sense of pure innocence about her. After the trial, just like everybody else in town, Scout's innocence is gone forever. Harper Lee created a character like Scout to remind us all of how fragile childhood is and to treasure each moment.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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