Life Lessons


Honors English 10


15 March 2004


The age of when a child begins to grow into a mature adult is never accurate, for it is different for every child. Every child goes through different events at different ages that causes them to grow due to the life they lead. Jean Louise Finch was only a mere age of six when she starts to learn life’s most significant lessons. But it is not through school where she learned this education about life, but through her own personal experiences and events that involved the residents of her home town of Maycomb. Through each of these experiences, Jean Louise, or Scout, learned another lesson. In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout learned many life lessons and matures through Tom Robinson’s trial, meeting Boo Radley, and her own father Atticus.


Due to the Tom Robinson trial, Scout learned lessons that she would remember all her life. Before the trial, Scout never knew Maycomb for its mistreatment towards blacks. She did not have much knowledge about blacks, and not until she witnessed the trial did she notice the management of blacks in her own town. She started understanding the hostility towards blacks after Atticus became the lawyer of Tom Robinson, and even experiences the mistreatment herself. She receives this from students at school, but as well as family and neighbors such as Mrs. Dubose, “Not only a Finch waiting tables, but one in the courthouse lawing for niggers” (Lee 101). At this point, Scout is not familiar with the concept, and goes to Atticus for help. She does not understand why residents in Maycomb treat blacks that way. During the trial, Scout also comes to experience how her town treats Negroes. She feels the racial tension in the courtroom from many residents of Maycomb and learned that many are prejudice against blacks. After the jury failed to set Tom Robinson free, Scout fully understood prejudice when she witnessed the trial, and witnessed prejudice as well. After the trial, Scout’s maturation commences when she viewed the injustice of Maycomb’s court system. Following Tom Robinson’s conviction, she fully comprehended racial discrimination, and began to understand the entire situation. Scout started to go through the changing process after she witnessed the horrors of the Tom Robinson trial. She knew the way people in Maycomb treated Negroes now, but did not follow in their steps. She matured afterwards, and even applied this knowledge to other situations, such as Arthur Radley. She mentioned after the trial is over that the house does not seem scary anymore. Scout grasped the idea that there are even more scary situations out in the world. The Tom Robinson court case aided in Scout’s growth as a child, and let her learn a few of life’s lessons.
As Scout grew older, she matured and learned essential lessons about life from Boo Radley. Through her town’s intolerance, Scout eventually is taught that things are not always what they seem. Arthur “Boo” Radley was a man that was mistaken and was treated as harmful in Maycomb despite the fact that no resident in Maycomb has proof of that. Arthur was known to have murdered his mother, and because of that, he never left the house. Due to such rumors and the notorious reputation he had in Maycomb, Scout automatically assumed that these stories are correct, “Inside the house lived a malevolent phantom” (8). She blamed Boo for Maycomb’s problems and believed stories about him even though they were untrue. For many months, she is deceived by these rumors, not giving another possibility much of a chance. But slowly she began to realize that he is a gentle, sweet person who brought them gifts in the knothole of the tree. He was someone who considered them to be like his own children and the brave hero that saved them from Bob Ewell. She learned this lesson throughout the novel, and shows her maturity many times. She showed her compassions and proves that she has learned the lesson of judging when she finally meets Arthur for the first time. “You can pet him Mr. Arthur, he’s asleep...” (278). She also learned a lesson about people in general. Scout understood them more as she grew, and this