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How does Scout develop and mature as the novel progresses?

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Atticus says, "Scout , you're not old enough to understand some things yet..." How does Scout develop and mature as the novel progresses? Scout Finch, who is a six-year-old girl at the beginning of the novel To Kill a Mocking Bird, is nine by the end of it. The novel, written by Harper Lee, is written in a very adult style because Scout is recounting memories of her childhood in Maycomb County, Southern Alabama. Scout is a very lively, intelligent girl but has a hot temper, which gets her into a lot of trouble with the adults. Unlike the typical late nineteenth century American female stereotype, of a woman staying home sitting on the porch while the man of the house goes and earns the money, Scout enjoys taking part in boyish activities with her older brother, Jem, but when she starts school, she does not just take part in the curricular activities, but also begins to learn about life and the way her society works. There are many events in the story that contribute to Scout's learning experiences, such as fights with Walter Cunningham, reading to Mrs Dubose, going to church with Calpurnia, the outcome of the Tom Robinson trial, and meeting social outcasts like Boo Radley and Dolphus Raymond. The story is set in the 1930s, where there is racial segregation in Alabama as a result of the American Civil War and the economy is corrupt due to the Wall Street crash (this was known as the Great Depression). ...read more.


Throughout the punishment Mrs Dubose showed a lot of aggression and anger, insulting Atticus and even Scout to her face, saying things like: "So, you brought that dirty little sister of yours." Following the first day, Scout and Jem are very unhappy but after a while start to ignore Mrs Dubose's comments and realise that an insult is not a big deal and Jem even "cultivated an expression" that he would show Mrs Dubose whenever she came up with one of her "blood-curdling inventions". Scout learns how to keep her patience, and not always to react confrontationally, showing that she can manage to control her temper and change the way she thinks about things. She never really understood why Mrs Dubose was so rude and had a face that was "the colour of a dirty pillow case" but, after getting to know her better, Scout discovers that Mrs Dubose is a morphine addict. Mrs Dubose would take the drug, under the supervision of a doctor, so that she would die painlessly. However, when she decided that she wanted to "die free", she decided to beat her addiction. Scout then realised that Mrs Dubose was always grumpy because she is in pain and that being prejudice towards a poor lady was a big mistake because she did not recognise the situation Mrs Dubose was in. Racism also plays a very big part in To Kill a Mockingbird. At the time that Harper Lee wrote the book, the Civil Rights Movement was taking place in America, and black people were trying to gain equality in the so called "United" States of America. ...read more.


Boo Radley was known as a "malevolent phantom". He was believed to be six and a half feet tall and was known to eat squirrels and cats. Scout, being na�ve and gullible, believed all of the town gossip. She only learned at the end of the novel that Boo was not a bad person, simply a social outcast. This became clear to her when she realised that it was Boo who saved her and Jem on the way back from the schoolhouse. Had Boo Radley not been there, Mr Ewell might have killed both Jem and Scout. It then dawned on her that the only reason all the rumours about Boo were so malicious was because he was different and, because they could not explain him, they feared him. This is similar to the situation Scout found herself in with Dolphus Raymond. He was a white man who married a black woman and fathered mixed race children. This was deemed unacceptable behaviour by Maycomb standards and therefore Dolphus pretended to be a drunk. In that way the people of Maycomb had an excuse for him marrying a black woman. Scout only realises why he pretends to be drunk when she finds out that he just sips Coca-Cola all day. She then starts to feel some sympathy for the people who are victims of racial and social prejudice. After learning about Boo Radley and Dolphus Raymond, Scout learns not to believe everything she hears. All of these factors have, in their own way, influenced the development of Scout's ethics and have shown how they affect her, along with how she reacts to them. ...read more.

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