Where do we first learn about Scout's understanding of human nature? Who teaches Scout?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the opening paragraphs of To Kill a Mockingbird, the adult Scout reminisces about the past, and she gives credit to both Jem and Atticus for their expert advice over the years. Her life changed drastically when Dill first came to visit.

    Dill was a curiosity.

In addition to a boyfriend--Dill asked Scout to marry him and even kissed her on occasion--Scout discovers many things about life outside Maycomb. Dill's infatuation with Boo Radley also stirs her further interest, and she gets most of her information about Boo from Jem, who "received most of his information from Miss Stephanie Crawford."

From her many talks with Miss Maudie Atkinson, Scout receives important insight about her father (as well as Boo). Calpurnia shows her the ways of the African-American way of life in Maycomb, and she discovers more from Dolphus Raymond and from her observations in the courtroom of the Tom Robinson trial. But it is from Atticus, that Scout gains the most understanding of human nature. His fatherly advice, such as the need to "climb into his skin and walk around in it," teaches her how to curb her anger and accept others' actions. When Scout climbs into Atticus's lap at night, she usually learns more than just the text of a new story. It is a nightly occurrence that builds her character and helps to bolster her understanding of life in general.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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