What are some examples of "coming of age" in To Kill A Mockingbird?

The Finch children come of age over the course of the novel. They learn life lessons through their father, Atticus, as well as through experiences in their town. Scout learns from her father to consider others' points of view, and she comes to see Boo as a kind-hearted person who is just different. From the Tom Robinson trial, Jem and Scout learn about racial prejudice, and they come to see the true nature of Maycomb.

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One way that Harper Lee illustrates Jem's and Scout's coming of age is through their developing perception of Boo Radley. At the beginning of the story, Scout views Boo as a "malevolent phantom," and Jem believes that he is a menacing creature who eats raw animals and is covered in blood. As the novel progresses, Jem discovers that Boo mended and folded his pants and that Boo has been giving them small gifts in the knothole of the Radley tree. After Jem discovers that the knothole has been filled in with cement, he cries on the front porch at the lost opportunity to create a friendship with Boo.

Jem's ability to perceive Boo as a compassionate, kind neighbor illustrates his maturation. Toward the end of the story, Scout also demonstrates her coming of age by viewing Boo in a new light. She tells Jem:

Boo doesn’t mean anybody any harm, but I’m right glad you’re along (Lee 135)

Scout sympathizes with her neighbor and understands that he is a harmless, reclusive man. After Boo saves her...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1093 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 19, 2019
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