To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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What lessons did Scout learn in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

Scout learns significant lessons on perspective, tolerance, and maintaining her composure. Atticus teaches Scout the importance of following her conscience and not conforming to society's standards. Scout also learns the meaning of real courage and recognizes the value of protecting innocent, defenseless people. She also becomes aware of the blatant hypocrisy in her community and learns the truth about her reclusive neighbor, Arthur "Boo" Radley.

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Scout learns several important life lessons throughout the story, which contribute to her moral development and influence her outlook on life. After Scout's rough first day of school, Atticus teaches her an important life lesson on perspective by encouraging her to metaphorically climb into another person's skin to understand their point of view. Scout also struggles to control her temper and gets into several physical altercations. Atticus responds by challenging Scout to maintain her composure and exercise tolerance. In chapter 9, Atticus tells Scout,

You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don't you let 'em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change ... it’s a good one, even if it does resist learning.

In addition to teaching Scout lessons on perspective, composure, and tolerance, Atticus also teaches his daughter the importance of...

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Initially, Scout fears Boo Radley, but once she gets to know him, she soon learns the truth about him and realizes she shouldn’t listen to rumors. Through watching her father defend Tom Robinson (even though his fate was already sealed), she also learns the truth about justice and that it isn’t always equal for all individuals. In the end, Scout’s view of her hometown, and of the world, changes when she views it from the porch of the Radley house.