Scout grows up during the course of the novel; innocence is lost as she comes to understand many adult realities. Her growing maturity is reflected in her attitudes and behavior. One incident that shows Scout's emerging maturity is her behavior during Aunt Alexandra's missionary circle meeting when word comes that Tom Robinson has been shot to death. Scout realizes the tragedy that has occurred and begins to shake physically as the reality of it sinks in, yet she behaves with grace and strong self-control when she, Miss Maudie, and Alexandra return to the ladies in the living room:
Aunt Alexandra looked across the room at me and smiled. She looked at a tray of cookies on the table and nodded at them. I carefully picked up the tray and watched myself walk to Mrs. Merriweather. With my best company manners, I asked her if she would have some.
After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.
Scout's attitude and behavior in this difficult circumstance shows a new degree of maturity in her character. She has changed a great deal in relation to her former self, the little girl in overalls who never missed an opportunity to irritate her aunt.