What are some quotes from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird that depict Scout's "awakening" or coming-of-age?  

What are some quotes from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird that depict Scout's "awakening" or coming-of-age? 


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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several significant quotes that portray Scout's "awakening" or coming-of-age. Following the Tom Robinson trial, Scout begins to notice and recognize the hypocritical nature of Maycomb's citizens. In Chapter 26, Scout's third-grade teacher Miss Gates shows sympathy for the Jews in Europe and comments that there is no prejudice in America. Scout realizes that her teacher is being hypocritical, and says to Jem,

"I heard her say it’s time somebody taught ’em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us. Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an’ then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home—" (Lee 152).

Following Bob Ewell's vicious attack, Arthur "Boo" Radley carries Jem home, then Dr. Reynolds and Sheriff Tate arrive at the Finch residence. After Scout is introduced to Boo for the first time, Sheriff Tate indirectly informs Atticus that Boo stabbed and killed Bob Ewell with Bob's knife during the struggle. Sheriff Tate tells Atticus that he refuses to disclose Boo's heroic actions to the community because it would bring unwanted attention on Boo. Sheriff Tate comments that it would be a sin to put Boo and his shy ways into the limelight. When Atticus looks down at Scout and asks her if she understands, Scout says,

"Well, it’d be sort of like shootin’ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?" (Lee 169).

Scout's ability to metaphorically compare an earlier lesson about the importance of protecting innocent mockingbirds and apply it to Boo's situation depicts her maturation and moral development.

In Chapter 31, Scout walks Boo Radley home and stands on his porch, looking out towards the neighborhood. Scout sees Maycomb from Boo's perspective and comments,

"Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad" (Lee 171).

Scout finally sees Boo Radley as the shy, magnanimous individual that he is, instead of viewing him as the "malevolent phantom" like she did earlier in the novel. Her ability to recognize Boo's true nature and view Maycomb from his point of view depicts Scout's coming-of-age and moral development.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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