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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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Who aids Scout in her coming of age journey in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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While Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is obviously a classic tale of race relations in the South, it's also a story chronicling the education and growth of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch. While many characters aid Scout in her journey, none are as essential to her coming of age than her father, Atticus Finch.

Principled, intelligent, independent, and kind, Atticus Finch is one of the most brilliantly written and most beloved characters in contemporary literature. While he often consigns himself to "doing the best he can" with raising his children, it's clear from the beginning that he is instrumental in helping Scout to become a mature, principled adult in her own right. For instance, in the first chapters of the novel, Atticus urges Scout to consider things from other people's perspectives, rather than simply condemning a person for holding beliefs other than her own. This simple advice, the advice to walk around in someone else's shoes for a change, becomes a central mantra in a novel that increasingly focuses on alternative ways of perceiving race, gender, family values, education, and the legal process. While this nugget of wisdom is not the only advice Atticus offers Scout, it is certainly one of the most important, as it helps elevate Scout above the ignorance and dull devotion to tradition that paralyzes most of the other residents of Maycomb County. 

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