Illustration of a bird perched on a scale of justice

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Start Free Trial

Can you give me some guidance as to what to discuss about how Scout's understanding has developed throughout To Kill a Mockingbird? ESSAY QUESTION: “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough” (CH 31) Using this quotation, discuss how Scout’s understanding has developed throughout the course of the novel. In your essay, refer to at least 3 charcters and 3 themes. Could you help me choose which characters and themes to discuss in my essay, and write a few pointers on them, to get me going on my essay. I don't want you to write the essay, but I would like someone to steer me in a general direction, as to what I will write about.   Thank you.  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Hello, Ruby. Here are a few pointers toward your essay.

First, the quotation about standing in one's shoes and walking around in them has to do with Atticus' advice concerning prejudging people. So, I think one of the main themes you should discuss is that of prejudice and tolerance (see the eNotes link below). Since part of your assignment is to discuss Scout's development over the course of the novel, you may also want to consider the theme of loss of innocence. The scene where Scout is standing on the Radley porch after escorting Boo back home completes the cycle of her learning experience with Boo--from the belief that he is a squirrel-eating monster to her realization that he is kind and heroic. She no longer needs to stand in his own shoes to see this--her view from his porch is now a different one (literally and figuratively) than she has experienced before.

You should probably consider the characters Scout, Jem, Dill, Boo and Atticus most prominently. Certainly, the trial of Tom Robinson--and the people she has met during the trial--have been a major source of her learning experience, so you may also want to include facets of this in your essay (as well as characters such as Tom, the Ewells and Dolphus Raymond).

I hope this helps a bit, and good luck.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team