Scout Grows Up Quickly Essay

Length: 3 pages Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #98858804 Related Topics: Growing Up, Wrongful Conviction, Great Depression
Excerpt from Essay :

Scout's Maturation in to Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird addresses many issues that were relevant at the time of its writing and which are still relevant today. The book details the financial woes of the Great Depression. It deconstructs the state of race relations in the United States. Most importantly, however, it provides a tale about growing up and maturing in a society that has a number of deep rooted prejudices and convictions, and which frequently expects people (especially young people) to believe them without understanding them. This final aspect of this novel is its most important, because it illustrates the maturation process that Scout undergoes while growing up. Scout is able to mature throughout this book by gaining the ability to take another person's perspective to understand why he or she acts as he or she does, without simply accepting society's reasons...


Perhaps the most convincing evidence for this thesis is that Scout is expressly told that understanding is predicated on vicariously experiencing the life and livelihood of another by her father, Atticus. In fact, the lawyer tells his daughter, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point-of-view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" (30). Initially, Scout is unable to comprehend this advice, and is more apt to judge other people without empathizing with their positions -- which is why she dislikes Miss Caroline (30). This inability on her part, however, merely emphasizes the fact that she is young and not mature enough to fully think for herself about other people and their actions. However, this sagacity from her father sets her in motion to try to understand the viewpoints of others prior to judging them -- which is a sign of maturity.

Perhaps the main way that Scout is able to evince her maturation process is through her interactions with Boo Radley, christened Arthur, and son of Scout's neighbor Nathan. Radley is something of a shut-in who has not been seen in some time. Early on in the book, Scout (accompanied by her brother and her friend Dill), inadvertently tease Boo by play acting a story that is about him (50). They do so in…

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Understanding Radley's perspective from his vantage point proves a watershed moment for the young girl, who is then able to make these sorts of connections with other people and other events. The fact that she is able to do so readily means she has matured past the early stages of the book when she simply took society's values and opinions for her own, and was not able to distinguish them from her own. She indicates her newfound maturity at the end of the novel as well as she explicates the events of a story to her father. The events of the story eerily parallel those of Lee's novel -- there is a character who is accused of criminal activity yet who is really innocent, a fact that is revealed at the end of the tale, prompting Scout to tell her father "When they finally saw him…he hadn't done any of those things…he was real nice" (285). This passage reveals that Scout is able to transfer her ability of understanding a person's circumstances before transferring judgments beyond just Boo Radley and apply it to the larger world (and literature). Her father readily agrees with her assessment of the book (285). Scout's application is an unequivocal part of her maturation process.

In summary, Scout is able to mature due to some key events in this story. They include her father's advice of learning about other people before judging them, her many encounters with Boo Radley, and her ability to apply this knowledge to both Radley and external circumstances in general. In many ways, her understanding of Boo Radley beyond just what society has portrayed him as mirrors the understanding that many people should have of Tom, who is wrongfully accused of raping a woman. Unfortunately, most of society never came to such an understanding -- which explains Tom's wrongful death. In this fact, Scout is perhaps more mature than the society in which she lives.

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