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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What quotes from To Kill A Mockingbird show maturity from Scout, Jem, or Dill?

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Jem, Scout, and Dill lose their childhood innocence after witnessing racial injustice firsthand when Tom Robinson is wrongly convicted of raping Mayella Ewell. Despite becoming jaded towards his racist neighbors, Jem matures into a morally-upright, compassionate boy, who desires to follow in his father's footsteps. Jem demonstrates his maturity in chapter 25 by telling Scout to leave the roly-poly bug alone. Jem tells Scout,

"Don’t do that, Scout. Set him out on the back steps" (Lee, 242).

While Jem's comment may seem insignificant, his behavior indicates that he understands the importance of protecting innocent, defenseless beings. Jem also demonstrates his maturation in chapter 28 by walking Scout to the Maycomb Halloween festival an attempting to cheer her up after the pageant. Scout mentions,

She [Mrs. Merriweather] made me feel awful, but when Jem came to fetch me he was sympathetic. He said he couldn’t see my costume much from where he was sitting. How he could tell I was feeling bad under my costume I don’t know, but he said I did all right, I just came in a little late, that was all. Jem was becoming almost as good as Atticus at making you feel right when things went wrong (Lee, 262).

Towards the end of chapter 30, Sheriff Tate explains his reasoning for not informing the community about Boo Radley's heroics and tells Atticus that he would consider it a sin to place Boo in the community's limelight because of his shy, reclusive nature. Scout overhears Sheriff Tate's explanation and agrees with his decision. Scout then displays her maturation and perspective on life by metaphorically applying Atticus's earlier lesson regarding the importance of protecting innocent beings by saying,

"Well, it’d be sort of like shootin‘ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?" (Lee, 280).

Scout not only metaphorically applies Atticus's earlier lesson but also understands the intricacies of Sheriff Tate's dilemma.

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Scout, Ch. 30:

“Won’t you have a seat, Mr. Arthur? This rocking-chair’s nice and comfortable.” My small fantasy about him was alive again: he would be sitting on the porch… right pretty spell we’re having, isn’t it, Mr. Arthur? Yes, a right pretty spell. Feeling slightly unreal, I led him to the chair farthest from Atticus and Mr. Tate. It was in deep shadow. Boo would feel more comfortable in the dark.

This scene follows the scene in which Boo Radley saves Scout and Jem from Mr. Ewell's attack.  Scout offers Boo a chair, acting as the adult in the situation since Boo seems childlike and shy.  She even fantasizes about the two of them discussing the weather.  The most mature aspect of this scene is Scout's recognition that Boo would feel more comfortable in the dark, and she offers him the chair in the shadows.  She understands Boo and his needs.

Further Reading

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, what is a good quotation that shows maturity in Scout's character?

Scout grows up during the course of the novel; innocence is lost as she comes to understand many adult realities. Her growing maturity is reflected in her attitudes and behavior. One incident that shows Scout's emerging maturity is her behavior during Aunt Alexandra's missionary circle meeting when word comes that Tom Robinson has been shot to death. Scout realizes the tragedy that has occurred and begins to shake physically as the reality of it sinks in, yet she behaves with grace and strong self-control when she, Miss Maudie, and Alexandra return to the ladies in the living room:

Aunt Alexandra looked across the room at me and smiled. She looked at a tray of cookies on the table and nodded at them. I carefully picked up the tray and watched myself walk to Mrs. Merriweather. With my best company manners, I asked her if she would have some.

After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.

Scout's attitude and behavior in this difficult circumstance shows a new degree of maturity in her character. She has changed a great deal in relation to her former self, the little girl in overalls who never missed an opportunity to irritate her aunt.

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