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.