Children are more empathetic towards others than adults because they are close to those ideas. The ideas of right and wrong and how to treat people are lessons constantly enforced as a child. Because of this reinforcement, these children feel guilty when they don't follow these rules. An example is Scout's guilt over the trio's early relationship with Boo. "Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was a neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it; we had given him nothing, and it made me sad." (320). Scout realizes the world's capacity for good and evil is great, however large or small these evils are. This is the kind of emotion and thought that many lose on the journey to adulthood. Time, money, and friendships between community members become factors over the way you treat someone. However, children have the open-mindedness to accept anyone who wants to be their friend because they have not experienced the evils of the world. With age comes responsibility; something children are free of. And with these responsibilities comes the natural human desire to be successful. Although some will keep childhood friends, other will develop enemies or resentment and bitterness towards some. Children are not bound by anything and freely interact with whoever they please.
Near the end of the novel, Jem, Scout, and Dill find themselves emotionally invested in a one sided judicial case concerning a black man who allegedly assaulted a white woman. Through this criminal case, we can see the true feelings of Jem, Scout, and Dill towards people of all races. Because they come into the world without preconceived notions of black vs. white, these children see the world in an innocent and unbiased way. The trio felt heartbroken over the case and the attitudes of people towards Tom Robinson, the black man accused of rape and assault. "'It was just him I couldn't stand,' Dill said. [...] 'That old Mr. Gilmer doin' him thataway, talking so hateful to him- [...] It was the way he said it made me sick, plain sick. [...] The way that man called him 'boy' all the time an' sneered at him, an' looked at the jury every time he answered- [...] It ain't right to do 'em that way. Hasn't anybody got any business talkin' like that- it just makes me sick.'" (226). In Dill's emotional breakdown, we can see the fine sensitivity of children to even slight condescending tendencies of a white man towards a black man. Children not only notice these tendencies, but become emotional at the sight of them. They are not just sympathetic towards the black man, they practically feel his pain. This incredible amount of empathy is a quality only children can truly understand. They innately are able to, in Atticus' words, "[...] climb into his skin and walk around in it." (70). In the case of Tom Robinson v. Maycomb County, Jem, Scout, and Dill don't see an uneducated black man getting what he deserved. They see a white jury unfairly prosecuting an obviously innocent, honest black man.
Dill Harris, Jem Finch, and Scout Finch are not extraordinary examples of morality in children. Nearly everyone has this same sense of justice within them as a child. However, we are all victims of societal norms and tendencies. Some improve yourself as a person, but others make you question your morals and, sometimes, lure you towards the sacrifice of character and morality for success or personal gain. In Jem, Scout, and Atticus Finch, we can make a literal comparison to the finch, usually found in people's yards. A tame, brightly feathered bird with pleasant calls and songs. It is similar to a mockingbird in its behavior and musical calls and songs. Not only is Boo a symbolic representation of the mockingbird, but Atticus, Jem, Scout, and Dill are examples of the bird also. These children understand and feel, emotionally, the injustices society inflicts upon its members. But the real story lies in whether they become immune to these injustices into adulthood, or stand by their beliefs with conviction. While the patterns of social inequality, racial prejudice, and lack of perspective affect society as a whole, there are always children who recognize the unfairness we subconsciously accept in our daily lives.