Aunt Alexandra shows up to live with her brother and his children in chapter 13. One of her biggest agendas is to teach Jem and Scout about their family history and how important the Finch name is to Maycomb County. In addition to this knowledge, she wants them to also learn to behave like a gentleman and a lady. She sends Atticus in to talk to the kids when her efforts don't seem to be helping them as she would like. Atticus says the following:
"Gentle breeding. . . She asked me to tell you you must try to behave like the little lady and gentleman that you are. She wants to talk to you about the family and what it's meant to Maycomb County through the years, so you'll have some idea of who you are, so you might be moved to behave accordingly" (133).
This passage is important because it is a big part of the children's life once Aunt Alexandra enters their life. There are many other discussions about "gentle breeding" and everything that goes with it throughout the book.
In chapter 14, there is a big shift in Jem and Scout's relationship. After a fight with Jem, Scout discovers that Dill has run away from his home in Meridian and is hiding under her bed. Scout sneaks into the kitchen to get him some food, but Jem tells Dill that he has to tell Atticus. Scout's description of what happened next is priceless:
"Dill's eyes flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor. Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood. He went out of the room and down the hall. 'Atticus,' his voice was distant, 'can you come here a minute, sir?'" (141).
Jem's growing up and acting like an adult. He tells Dill that he shouldn't worry his mother by running away. This is shocking for Scout and Dill to hear from a child because only adults talk that way. Jem is clearly changing, and as Scout so aptly puts it, "he broke" the childhood code of never snitching, which proves he will never be the same.
Next, in chapter 15, a lynch mob shows up to the jail for Tom Robinson on the night before his trial. The children show up to check on Atticus and Scout decides to talk to Mr. Cunningham about his son that she knows and his legal problems. Scout does not know what she's saying or doing, but she rambles on long enough to get Mr. Cunningham to change the mob's mind.
"Atticus said nothing. I looked around and up at Mr. Cunningham, whose face was equally impassive. Then he did a peculiar thing. He squatted down and took me by both shoulders. 'I'll tell him you said hey, little lady,' he said. Then he straightened up and waved a big paw. 'Let's clear out,' he called. 'Let's get going, boys'" (154).
This is a great moment because a child tames an angry mob of men. Scout not only tames the men, but they stand down and leave so that Tom lives and is able to show up for his trial the next day. The reactions on everyone's faces shows just how ironic the situation is--so much so, that there's nothing else to do but go home.
Finally, in chapter 16, Jem expresses his concern for Atticus and that Mr. Cunningham would have hurt him that night by the jail. Jem is also surprised that Atticus would call Mr. Cunningham a friend after that. Atticus responds as follows:
"Mr. Cunningham's basically a good man. . . he just has his blind spots along with the rest of us. . . but son, you'll understand folks a little better when you're older. A mob's always made up of people, no matter what. Mr. Cunningham was part of a mob last night, but he was still a man. Every mob in every little Southern town is always made up of people you know--doesn't say much for them, does it?" (157).
This passage has to do with Atticus's credo. He tries to see things from other people's perspectives before judging them. He usually doesn't criticize them even then. There are so many learning and growing experiences in these passages that anyone can apply each on to his or her life and recognize its true impact in life and the world around us.