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As we go through the different stages of life, it might not be easy for all of us, especially for Scout and Jem. Scout and Jem are abruptly woken up by the nightmare of reality from their dream of innocence. Throughout the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, it documents the moral growth of Jem and Scout as they gain a better understanding of the world. At the start of the book, Jem and Scout are innocent little kids the same as everyone else. Throughout the story, this innocence is being tested by different events for instance; the Tom Robinson Trial. At the end of the book, Scout and Jem realize the cruelty of the world and the effects of on different people, for example, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. In the beginning, Scout and Jem mesmerize about a supposed fantasy character named Boo Radley. They don’t know who he is, and this mystery captivates them to knock on Boo Radley’s door and even try to look at him through the window.
As stated by “He said it began the summer Dill came to us when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out(3),” this displays to us the innocence of Scout and Jem at the beginning of the story. On the contrary, we can also see immoral values of society instilled in Scout and Jem. The first time we see this is during school, Scout reprehends the teacher when Ms. Caroline gives Walter Cunningham money although Cunningham’s did not have the financial ability to pay her back. According to “That’s okay, ma’am, you’ll get to know all the county folks after a while. The Cunninghams never took anything they can’t pay back—no church baskets and no scrip stamps (20),” we see the evil values of social classes in Scout when she classifies the Cunningham’s as poor and subordinate. This example strongly indicates that Scout still has room to mature because she is not articulate enough to control her words.
In conclusion, we can see that Scout and Jem are still naive children that have room for edification. Towards the middle of the story, Scout and Jem start to mature and realize the class systems in their little town of Maycomb. They see this through the Tom Robinson trial as well as the trip to Calpurnia’s church. They see that Calpurnia uses a different style of talking to the people of her church. This proves that Calpurnia has a different level of respect for the blacks and can speak more freely and comfortably with them. According to “He had announced in the schoolyard the day before that Scout Finch’s daddy defended niggers.” (77), Scout was called out by Cecil Jacobs because Atticus was defending Tom Robinson. Scout realizes that society is unusually racist and some people are not as privileged as others. This reflects back to the Tom Robinson Trial where the ample amount of proof from Atticus shows that Tom Robinson is faultless but the verdict was still guilty because of his race. Scout and Jem witness the injustice in the trial and unfortunately realize that Maycomb is not the same as they once thought it was. Aside from this, they meet Mrs. Dubose, a rather cantankerous old woman.
According to “But Mrs. Dubose held us: “Not only a Finch waiting on tables but one in the courthouse lawing for niggers!”(105), we know that Mrs. Dubose is the literal definition of Maycomb. She acts unsurprisingly identical to everyone else, acrimoniously reprimanding Atticus for defending Tom Robinson. However, in the end, Atticus instills in Scout and Jem that he admires Mrs. Dubose’s courage for which she uses to battle her morphine addiction. In the middle of the novel, we can see that Scout and Jem are going through moral development. They are tested by their environments, such as Cecil Jacobs and Mrs. Dubose. Nearing the end of the novel, we can see the maturation of Scout and Jem largely increase. After the trial, we see that Jem and Scout have grown because of the experiences and the result of the trial.
According to “What do you think it means, Jean Louise?” “‘Equal rights for all, special privileges for none,’” I quoted (Page 249), we are able to see that Scout has learned that everyone should have equal rights. This displays moral growth because at the beginning she criticized the Cunningham’s and Ewell’s for being less prerogative, but now she realizes that everyone should have equal rights and should live happily.
According to “He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there. You understand?” Jem nodded.”(Page 222), Jem has also grown, learning that it is important to step into someone else’s shoes for a minute and understand the reason for their actions. We have the ability to see that Atticus is instilling good virtues into Jem, Jem looks up to Atticus as a role model and wants to be identical to him. The place where we see Scout and Jem mature the most is at the end, where they get attacked because Bob Ewell wanted vengeance. According to “ He was running, running toward us with no child’s steps. “Run, Scout! Run! Run!” Jem screamed.” (Page 265), Jem and Scout were being attacked by Mr. Ewell because he wanted to get back at Atticus after the trial. Scout and Jem see that not everyone in the world is nice and morally good like Atticus and that there are abnormally crazy people in their little town of Maycomb. Towards the end of the novel, Scout, and Jem, two pure kids learn that the world is not what they think it is and that there are both morally good but also bad people. Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, it showcases the moral development of the sibling’s Scout and Jem as they gain a better understanding of the world. Towards the start of the story, we see Scout and Jem similar to any kid in the summer, playing around.
However, towards the middle of the story, it turns dark because of the Tom Robinson trial. Their morality gets tested by their surroundings as they get verbally attacked because Atticus is defending Tom Robinson. Towards the end of the novel, Scout and Jem understand and accept that society was not what they once thought it was and have learned that some shoes are dirty and some are clean, but you won’t know until you step in them.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. McIntosh and Otis, Inc., 1988.
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