What is an example of a character in the book that was oblivious to the harm he or she caused in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Stephanie Crawford is an example of a person who does not know what harm she caused.

Miss Stephanie Crawford is described as the “neighborhood scold.”  She is basically the town gossip.  She either makes up or passes on stories just to seem important, without regard to who she might be hurting.  She shares the details of Boo’s childhood mishap, for example.

According to Miss Stephanie, Boo was sitting in the livingroom cutting some items from The Maycomb Tribune to paste in his scrapbook. .... As Mr. Radley passed by, Boo drove the scissors into his parent's leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities. (ch 1)

Stephanie also says that Boo was peeping in her window at night.  She loves to pass on Boo' story, even though he is a timid and quiet soul.

Stephanie makes fun of the children too.  She even tells jokes at their expense.

"Whatcha going to be when you grow up, Jean Louise? A lawyer?"
"Nome, I hadn't thought about it..." I answered, grateful that Miss Stephanie was kind enough to change the subject. ...
"Why shoot, I thought you wanted to be a lawyer, you've already commenced going to court." (ch 24)

Miss Stephanie likes to have her fun at the expense of others, and does not seem to know or care of her effect on anyone else.

There are many characters that do harm without realizing it.  Mayella accuses Tom Robinson just to save herself.  Boo Radley’s father keeps him in the house to protect him.  Aunt Alexandra tries to make the Finch children appreciate their heritage, and really just confuses them.  Finally, the Finch children portray Boo Radley’s life before the whole neighborhood without realizing they might hurt his feelings.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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