What are some of the most important lessons Scout and Jem learn throughout the novel and who teaches them these lessons?

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oh, so many lessons! The children learn that truly great people don't brag about it. They never even knew that their dad, Atticus, was a crack shot. When he kills the rabid dog, they are quite surprised. Atticus teaches them this lesson, by example.

They are not too impressed with their father's profession as a lawyer, until Miss Maudie brags about Atticus' abilities. Miss Maudie teaches them this one. Then, they observe their father in the courthouse. The Blacks tells Scout to stand when her father passes. The children learn that their father is brave and a man of integrity.

They learn that life is not fair. The results of Tom's trial teaches them this. Jem is quite crushed by the verdict.

They learn to treat company as company, no matter how bad the company's manners are. Calpurnia teaches them this when Walter pours syrup all over his food.

Scout learns that people are hypocrites and sometimes do not live the religion they preach. She learns this lesson from Miss Maudie at the women's missionary tea and also from observing the speech of the women in attendance.

I think there is probably a lesson in every chapter. What a great novel

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous post gave some good examples of the children's lessons learned in To Kill a Mockingbird. Other examples:

  • Scout learns that the well-educated do not always apply their knowledge properly through the mistakes made by Miss Caroline.
  • Through Miss Gates, Scout discovers that teachers do not always practice what they preach.
  • Scout and Dill learn that not all town gossip is true when they discover the true nature of Dolphus Raymond.
  • Scout and Jem learn that the very poorest people in town--the Cunninghams and the Ewells--actually have very little else in common.
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yup, excellent examples so far.  A few more:

  • They learn from Dill that not everyone has a family who loves and cares for them.
  • They learn from Lulu (at Cal's church) that some black people don't particularly like white people--that prejudice can work both ways.
  • They learn that not all black people are educated, and that Calpurnia is not typical.
  • They learn that color does not determine character, as the most despicable characters in the novel are white.
  • They learn from Mrs. Dubose that one can be strong and courageous despite being cantankerous and racist.
macandcheese99 | Student

to have repect for everything. This is shown when jem tells Scout not to kill the roly-poly, but to set it free outside becuase, "They don't bother you." (chap. 25)

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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