Illustration of a bird perched on a scale of justice

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What are some positive influences on Scout throughout To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Scout is fortunate indeed to be surrounded by numerous people who each provide, in their own unique way, a positive influence. I would single out Miss Maudie for special mention here. She shows Scout that being a fine Southern lady is about substance rather than show. Miss Maudie likes nothing better than pottering about in her beautiful garden wearing an old, beat-up pair of overalls. Yet through her kindness, empathy, and good-humored nature, she proves to be a much more effective role model for Scout than the very prim and proper Aunt Alexandra. Alexandra presents a vision of Southern womanhood that's the exact opposite of Miss Maudie. For Scout's aunt, being a lady is all about what's on the outside: how you dress, how you talk, your deportment in polite society. But Miss Maudie shows Scout by example that it's possible to be a lady every bit as fine and every bit as respectable as Aunt Alexandra's ideal without sacrificing your individuality.

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Several characters positively influence Scout throughout the novel. Scout's father, Atticus Finch, influences his daughter to be tolerant and sympathetic towards others. He leads by example and gives Scout valuable life lessons on perspective, courage, and justice. Miss Maudie is another positive influence on Scout. Miss Maudie offers Scout insight into their reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley, and gives support and encouragement in difficult times. Scout enjoys sitting on Miss Maudie's porch and cherishes their friendship. Calpurnia is another character who positively influences Scout. Calpurnia teaches Scout how to write and teaches her how to respect others. Scout also gains valuable insight into the African American community after Cal takes her to First Purchase African M. E. for Sunday service. Jem and Dill are two other characters who are positive influences on Scout. They entertain Scout and also offer her emotional support in times of need.

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