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How do Scout and Jem develop and mature as the novel progresses?

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How do Scout and Jem develop and mature as the novel progresses? This novel charts three years in the lives of Scout and Jem. In those years they not only learn where evil is to be found in their community, but also develop the ethical principles to withstand it. The children inherit these principles directly and indirectly from adult characters throughout the novel. Atticus is the single parent of Scout and Jem. His maxim, which he teaches the children, is that before prejudging a person on the basis of class, gender or race you should 'put yourself in their skin... and walk around in it'. Otherwise, you can 'never really understand a person'. It is this liberal, tolerant attitude that the children learn and which sets them apart from the all-pervading racism that is at the core of Maycomb society. They are told not that 'it is a sin to kill a mockingbird' and by following this teaching they later gain understanding of the town's mistreatment of mockingbirds Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. Atticus subtly imparts wisdom to the children, which allows them to make sense of the controversy and events surrounding the trial of Tom Robinson. ...read more.


For example, when taking Boo home in the penultimate chapter, Scout takes his arm under his, understanding that this would increase his dignity and prevent the likely-to-be-watching Stephanie Crawford from spreading more gossip about the already victimised and isolated Boo. Calpurnia plays a direct role in the children's development, teaching Scout early in the novel that people in Maycomb like the Cunninghams should be treated with kindness and respects irregardless of their prejudices. When Calpurnia sends Scout to eat in the kitchen for being critical of Walter Cunningham's table manners, she insists on Scout recognising that Walter is her guest. Scout is ashamed of trying to disgrace him. The children's summer-time boundaries are determined by Calpurnia's calling distance - as if she were their mother. The fact that they obey her is a sign of their acceptance of her authority. Her influence on Scout is sometimes so gentle that Scout finds herself interested in the kitchen activities, making her feel that there was "some skill involved in being a girl" In Calpurnia's discussion about the different languages she uses in their house and in her own community, she teaches Scout about attitudes towards your neighbour: "It's not necessary to tell all you know. ...read more.


Look at all those folks, it's like a Roman carnival" Her gift of the cakes after the verdict is her way of offering sympathy and putting an end to Miss Stephanie Crawford's taunting of the children about their father's defeat. She comforts them with praise: "I simply want to tell you that there are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father's one of them" (p.219) Her determination to keep up appearances gives strength to Aunt Alexandra and Scout at the missionary tea party. She knows that racial prejudice will make it impossible for the visiting ladies to have any sympathy for Tom's death or for the effect this will have on Atticus and the rest of his family. By her actions she causes Scout to conclude: "After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I". The children mature and grow in understanding and in moral awareness from the example, words and guidance of the adults in their lives. These adults- including Atticus, Boo Radley, Calpurnia and Miss Maudie- set a good example to them and help them understand and combat the irrational attitudes of racism and prejudice possessed by many of the minor characters in the novel. ...read more.

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