“When we see Scout changing and growing

“When
we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change
ourselves.” -Viktor Frankl. In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, we see
Scout changing and growing up through situations she experiences. Most of these
situations are caused by her surroundings in Maycomb, Alabama. Scout and Jem’s
father, Atticus, is a lawyer who is assigned to defend Tom Robinson, a black
man accused of rape. As a result, Scout attending the trial and many other
experiences in the book shapes her greatly, both personality-wise and through
her perspective of the world. Throughout To Kill a Mockingbird, we
see Scout overcome her own flaws and become more mature due to dealing with her
own ignorance, her violent tendencies, and her understanding of women’s roles.

One
of the recurring themes that helps Scout mature is overcoming ignorance. Scout
is ignorant because she doesn’t think about how her actions affect others.
First, Scout felt like she had to join Jem and Dill in going to the Radley
house. After Jem insults her, she thinks, “With that, I had no option to join
them,” (52). As a result of feeling the need join Jem and Dill, the kids wake
up Nathan Radley and he starts to shoot. Scout fell for Jem’s insult and acted
upon it, not thinking about how that would affect the Radley family. However,
as Scout grows older she becomes less ignorant to the Radley house. As Scout
starts third grade, she thinks to herself and ponders, “I sometimes felt a
twinge of remorse, when passing by the old place, at ever having taken part in
what must have been sheer torment to Arthur Radley,” (242). Scout ponders about
her wrongful actions towards Arthur and matures by looking at what she did to
him in a developed manner. Overall, Scout becoming less ignorant towards Boo
Radley helped her treat strangers better, and in turn, she matures.

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Another
recurring theme that helps Scout mature is applying her lessons to her own
violent tendencies. Near the beginning of the book, Scout’s violent tendencies
are shown through Walter Cunningham. Chapter 3 starts with, “Catching Walter
Cunningham in the schoolyard gave me some pleasure, but when I was rubbing his
nose in the dirt Jem came by and told me to stop,” (22). Scout beating up
Walter Cunningham actually satisfied her. This shows that Scout acts more
physically than mentally. Subsequently, Atticus begins to guide her in a
different direction. Once word spreads that Atticus is defending a black man,
Cecil Jacobs begins to talk Atticus down. Scout wants to fight Cecil Jacobs for
this, but Atticus says, “‘Try fighting with your head for a change…it’s a good
one, even if it does resist learning,'” (76). By Scout’s father teaching her this,
Scout wants to follow through with what Atticus taught her and causes her to
mature by dropping her fists and walking away from Cecil Jacobs. Generally
speaking, becoming less violent and impulsive helps her mature by seeing
through people’s perspectives.

Lastly,
Scout thinking differently about the role of women helps her overcome
stubbornness and mature. Scout has been continually told to do as Aunt
Alexandra says, yet Scout finds this difficult because her and Aunt Alexandra
have opposing views. For example, Scout is more of a tomboy, thus Aunt
Alexandra said, “that one had to behave like a sunbeam, that I Scout was born
good but grown progressively worse every year. She hurt my feelings…,” (81).
This shows that even before Aunt Alexandra moves in, there was tension between
them beforehand about how Scout is supposed to act. In addition, Scout finds it
difficult to obey Aunt Alexandria once Aunt Alexandra temporarily moves in with
the Finch family. When Scout talks back to Aunt Alexandra, Atticus says to her,
“‘You do as Calpurnia tells you, you do as I tell you, and as long as your
aunt’s in this house, you will do as she tells you,'” (136). Although Scout and
Aunt Alexandra have opposing views, she has been continually told to do as her
aunt says.

Despite the conflicting views, the
way that Aunt Alexandra along with Miss Maudie and Calpurnia react to Tom
Robinson’s death completely changes how Scout comprehends women’s roles. Once
Atticus tells the ladies what happened to Tom Robinson, Atticus says to
Calpurnia, “‘Cal, I want you to go out with me and help me tell Helen,'” (235)
to which Calpurnia responds, “‘Yes sir,'” (235). After Miss Maudie helps
Calpurnia untie her apron, Atticus and Calpurnia leave. Aunt Alexandra and Miss
Maudie have a reflective conversation about Atticus and what he does for the
town. As a result, Scout began, “shaking and couldn’t stop,” (236). At that
point, Miss Maudie helps Aunt Alexandra and Scout prepare before rejoining
their guests and Scout’s role models acts as if nothing ever happened. Scout
now realizes that women can be tenacious and diligent because of the way that
Scout’s motherly figures handled the predicament that just occurred.
Furthermore, Scout and Aunt Alexandra’s relationship improves through this incident.
Chapter 24 ends with, “After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this,
so could I,” (237). This shows that Scout’s view of her aunt has changed and
that Scout could also be just as strong as her. Consequently, Scout grasping
women’s roles helped her conquer stubbornness and quickly mature.

Scout
overcoming her own flaws and becoming mature by interacting with her own
ignorance, her violent tendencies, and her understanding of women’s roles can
be found all throughout To Kill a Mockingbird. Many of her earlier
experiences, such as breaking into the Radley House, fighting Walter
Cunningham, and talking back to Aunt Alexandra show Scout being ignorant,
violent, and stubborn. However, she continually changes throughout the book
through lessons taught by Atticus, changes of perspective, and situations she
encounters. Consequently, Scout becomes less ignorant, acts less violently, and
has a better comprehension of the role of women. Through Scout, we can all try
to take action by applying our lessons taught by our parents, as well as being
more mature.

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