Loss of innocence and coming of age are two themes that are interwoven throughout this novel.
One example from chapter 16 occurs when Scout learns about the nature of a mob when she confronts Mr. Cunningham outside the jail when he is part of the mob who has come to lynch Tom. She doesn't understand how a man they had helped and knew as a person could change. Atticus explains that “'Mr. Cunningham is basically a good man,'” he said, “'he just has his blind spots along with the rest of us'” (157). It is hard for the children to understand the different sides of human nature. As children, they believed that people were either good or evil, not both. This event forces them to understand the duality of human nature.
Later, Atticus explains, "'Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children . . . you children last night made Walter Cunningham stand in my shoes for a minute. That was enough'” (157). in this lesson the children learn that one must be grown-up enough to be able to walk in...
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