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9 Lessons We Learn From Scout

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9 life lessons from Scout Finch: What
the 'To Kill a Mockingbird' character
taught us
1. "Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but
in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man
the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed." - Chapter 25
Scout figures out that sometimes bigotry and emotion overpower a supposedly
objective justice system.
2. "Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you
stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch
was enough." - Chapter 31
Because of her age and limited knowledge, Scout takes her father's comment
literally, musing that she can see the post office on the corner from the Radley
porch. But the figural meaning is clear to readers.
3. "I said I would like it very much, which was a lie, but one must lie under
certain circumstances and at all times when one can't do anything about
them." - Chapter 13
Scout realizes it does no good to point out hurtful truths that cannot be changed.
4. "'Ain't you scared of haints?' We laughed. Haints, Hot Steams, incantations,
secret signs, had vanished with our years as mist with sunrise." - Chapter 28
With the trial and the community's reaction, Scout learns adult lessons, which take
the place of some of her childhood beliefs. The things that frighten her as she
grows older would be real, not imagined.
5. "Naw, Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks." - Chapter 23
The young Scout is trying to navigate the adult world where people are placed into
categories by family heritage, race and income. To her young eyes, those things
don't make a difference.
6. "Atticus had said it was the polite thing to talk to people about what they
were interested in, not about what you were interested in." - Chapter 15
Recalling this admonition from her father, Scout begins polite conversation with a
man in a mob that arrives to lynch Tom Robinson. Scout had not realized their
violent intent but her innocent interruption caused the mob to disperse.
7. "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had
never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived." - Chapter 11
It becomes clear to Scout that a man who doesn't use guns or violence as shields
is more vulnerable to attack and therefore shows more courage.
8. "Somewhere, I had received the impression that Fine Folks were people who
did the best they could with the sense they had, but Aunt Alexandra was of the
opinion, obliquely expressed, that the longer a family had been squatting on
one patch of land the finer it was." - Chapter 13
As Aunt Alexandra teaches Scout the "fineness" of a family stems from its
bloodline, Scout expresses her belief it stems from a person's integrity.
9. "Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love
breathing." - Chapter 2
Raised by a voracious reader, Scout could not recall a time when she could not
read. When her teacher informed her she needed to "unlearn" what she knew
about reading to be taught the "correct" way, Scout realized how much she loved
it.