What Does Scout Learn During the Course of the Novel?
- Pages: 5
- Word count: 1226
- Category: Novel
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During the three years that the novel takes place Scout, the narrator steps back into the skin of the young Jean Louis Finch. The novel is about the education of her mind, her feelings, her morality and her maturity. This happens largely through the enlightenment of her father’s attitudes towards life and the warmth that he gives her and also through her observation of the situations going on around her and from the general county as a whole.
Scout is lively and impulsive, she jumps to conclusions and is generally more emotional than the male members in her family. She is unladylike and is undisciplined always ready to get into a fight.
“Scout’d just as soon jump on someone as look at him if her pride’s at stake.” Chapter 9
Scout learns not to fight with her fists as Atticus keeps reminding her and that she shouldn’t give in.
“Try fighting with you head for a change it’s a good one even if it does resist learning”
Although she is intelligent and a quick thinker, as Atticus says, she does not use her head because she lets her emotions get involved. She also has the Finch courage, when Jem is forced to go to the Doubose house she insists on supporting him. She is warm, friendly and open. She makes conversation with Mr Cunningham in order to make him feel at home.
Through the course of the novel Scout learns many things. She learns to control her feelings and actions. She learns some degree of self-control, not to retaliate when she is taunt and refrains from fighting children who insult her father even though it shames her to do so.
“Somehow if I fought Cecil I would Atticus down.” Chapter 9
She develops deeper understanding of the needs and rights of other people. Her sympathy grows and she learns to look at things from another person’s point of view. She learns to understand people better by putting herself in their shoes/skin and seeing things from their point on view. This is one of the main things she learns from Atticus, something that is repeated throughout the book
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”
We see this in the way that she begins to understand Calpurnia, Aunt Alexandra and Jem and also Boo Radley
Though she is a natural tomboy, always wearing trousers and disliking the company of ladies, she gradually begins to adjust to the feminine role required by her, by attending the tea parties and by the influence of her aunt. She also learns to accept the ways of her aunt Alexandra.
Love and admiration for Cal also initiate the process of her learning the feminine role; when she watches Cal at work in the kitchen she says:
” I began to feel that there was some skill involved in being a girl.” Chapter 12
This is also seen as she comes to appreciate Calpurnia’s character and realises that she has a life apart from the Finches. Calpurnia teaches her about being polite to her guests this is shown in the incidence when Walter Cunningham is invited over for lunch.
As for Jem, the process of development is often painful for Scout. She suffers, however in ways rather different from his, he is most distressed by the betrayal of principles of justice; she is hurt more by the limitations of her sex and by the fact that her adored brother naturally grows away from her as he passes from childhood to adolescence. She learns a lot about the law through Jems views and actions. She learns to see him in a different way and to respect him, as he grows older.
“As Atticus had once advised me to do, I tried to climb into Jem’s skin and walk around in it.” Chapter 3
She also learns to understand Boo at first she is afraid of Auther Radley and calls him a monster but later in on the novel she is no longer afraid of him and is no longer interested in teasing him. She looks back and feels real remorse at having taken part in what must have been shear torment for Boo Radley. She responds by showing her sensitivity towards him, in the last chapter, by encouraging her him to touch Jem, she shows that she understands his body language and what he is feeling. She also shows her sensitivity in the ways that she makes sure that his public dignity is preserved as she walks him home.
Earlier on in the book Scout learns that it is a sin to kill a Mockingbird as Miss Maudie explains to her on page 100:
“They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird”
Scout also learns that things aren’t always, as they seem. An example of this is the situation of Dolphus Raymond. She learns from him that society need a reason as to why people act the way they do, they cannot accept the fact that he lives like the way he does because he wants to and that’s why he hides the truth about him self.
An incident that shows Scout maturing is when she hears her teacher saying that it is a good thing that Tom Robinson was convicted because the blacks were getting to ‘high and mighty’. This confuses Scout a little because the teacher is always telling them about democracy and persecution yet it is OK to persecute the blacks. She begins to notice what is going on around her and wonders how the teacher could be so contradictory. She later learns that most of Maycomb are hypocrites and also very contradictory mainly from the tea parties she attends and the missionary circle.
When she sees how Tom Robinson is treated she just because he is black she begins to understand the meaning of prejudice. She accepts Mr Gilmer’s treatment of him as something to be expected.
She learns not to be afraid of things that’s he doesn’t understand like with the incidence with the snow she woke up and screamed:
“The worlds ending; Atticus! Please do something!”
She is also scared of Mrs Doubose, when she has her fits but then gets used to them. She also learns what real courage is from Mrs Doubose. Atticus wanted both her and Jem to see what real courage is:
“Instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”
She learns to examine the situations around her more closely and to accept people as they are. What Scout says at the end on the novel is a typical example of her childish, over simplification, but it has some truth in it:
“As I made my way home I though Jem and I would get grow old but there wasn’t much else foe us to learn except possible algebra” chapter 31 page 308.