Its interesting to see the ways different authors depict how a character matures, a stage that many of us have been through. In Harper Lees novel, To Kill a Mocking Bird we can easily see how she chose to do it. The novel is set in Alabama in the 1930s, while black vs. white racism was a big issue and problem for many.
Atticus is the father of Scout and Jem, young children who witness the discrimination first hand when their father, a white man, defends a black man in court. Lee does a great job developing the characters; especially the narrator, Jean Louise Finch (Scout). Scouts thoughts, conversations, and actions, illustrate that shes emotionally maturing from the innocent child that she was.Through Scouts thoughts, its obvious that she is growing up. Readers can see this early in the novel in chapter six. Jem and Scout werent as close as they used to be mostly because Jem was maturing suddenly and fast. He and Dill started leaving Scout out because she was too girly.
Scout doesnt like this at first when she says, It was then I suppose that Jem and I first began to part company. Sometimes I did not understand him, but my periods of bewilderment were short-lived (61). The fact that she accepts this, something not many young girls would do, shows that she too is maturing a bit. Thoughts that show Scout is maturing also come near the end of the novel. Although Atticus would always tell her to stand in others shoes and see things from their point of view, it never really came through to her. Not until she stands on Boo Radleys porch after he saves her and Jem from Bob Ewell.
She states, 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 (297). Standing on the porch lets Scout finally see things from Boo Radleys point of view. Earlier in the novel, she was terrified every time she passed the house.
Now as she stands on his porch, the way that she sees things has changed. The reader must realize that Scout herself has changed as well. As well as thoughts, the conversations and interactions between Scout and other characters show how she is mentally and emotionally aging. Near the end is where its more obvious that Scout has matured. After the Finchs are safe from Bob Ewell, they go back to the house with the sheriff, Mr.
Heck Tate. When asked who was at the scene, Scout pointed to the man in the corner of the room. She described to the readers that our neighbors image blurred with my sudden tears. Hey Boo, I said (270). This is the first and definite indication that Boo is a good man.
Even though Scout had never seen him before, she realizes who he is. Scout is brought to tears because this is the first time that she realizes that the man that she used to fear the most had cared about her and saved her life. The fact that she notices this shows her mental growth undoubtedly. After Boo had saved the children, Mr. Tate explained to Atticus that they should cover up for Boo, the man who had just stabbed Bob Ewell, and Atticus finally agreed.
He wasnt sure if Scout had understood all that was said and done until Scout describes,Atticus looked like he needed cheering up. I ran to him and hugged him and kissed him with all my might. Yes sir, I understand, I reassured him.
Mr. Tate was right. Atticus disengaged himself and looked at me. What do you mean?Well, its be sort of like shootin a mocking bird, wouldnt it? (276).
This quote reveals Scouts amazing understanding of life. She took a past learning experience and formed an incredible analogy comparing Boo and the mocking bird that her father earlier told her not to shoot. This analogy proves that Scouts wisdom is well beyond her years.Although thoughts and speech contributed towards Scouts increase of maturity, her actions also elucidate to the readers that she is maturing. When Scout proves the effect that her fathers words have on her, she also proves her respect and maturity. Its shown on page 57 when she explains, As Atticus once advised me to do, I tried to climb into Jems skin and walk around in it: if I had gone alone to the Radley Place at two in the morning, my funeral would have been held. (57).
The fact that she decides not to bother Jem shows she listened and took Atticuss advice. On page 29, Scout tells us about her and Cal’s conversation one day when Scout came back from school. Calpurnia said that she had missed Scout that day while she and Jem were at school. All of a sudden, Calpurnia was really nice to Scout. She let Scout watch her fix supper, she made crackling bread for her, and she even kissed her. Scout describes how she feels after all this behavior: “I ran along, wondering what had come over her.
She had wanted to make up with me, that was it. She had always been too hard on me, she had at last seen the error of her fractious ways, she was sorry and too stubborn to say so.” (29). This proves that Scout always thought that Calpurnia never liked her and that she didn’t care about her, and that she deserves and accepts Cal’s apology which is not what she wouldve done earlier in the beginning of the novel.Through Scouts relationships, choices and actions, as well as the way she narrated the novel allows the readers to really see what kind of character Scout is and how she matured greatly.
Its surprising that we see it starting as early as page 29, and Lee does a wonderful job weaving it in through the story. When the novel is finished, its amazing how readers could glance right over the fact that Scout had matured, however they really have to look at how the author of any book, Harper Lee in this case, analyzes the characters through speech, thoughts, and actions. By the end of the novel Scout had grown up immensely, a very important step in everyones life.