Scout is an intelligent, perceptive child and her observations often contain a sensitive awareness to the situation. This might be because she is only six years old or it may be because she is a born lady. In every part of the novel one would see Scout’s perspective on the world. As each situation matures and becomes more serious, Scout becomes one step closer to womanhood and maturity.
As a child, Scouts appearance seems rough and because of this some people tried to change her, such has Aunt Alexandra and the Missionary Ladies but as the book quotes itself Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up peoples gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. (Lee, 90) It is also a sin to try and change a tomboy into something she is not. Scout’s experiences during the course of the novel, directly contribute to her growth of a young lady.
Scout is six years old when the novel begins; she lives with her father, Atticus and brother, Jem. In her house the only woman role modal that she can look up to is Calpurnia, the Negro cook and housekeeper who has helped Atticus raise Scout and Jem. Scout grew up with fishing, playing football and many other “not so ladylike” outdoor activities. She did not grow up with the proper values as she would if her mother was alive, who died when Scout was very little. Scout’s biggest influence in her life is her brother, Jem.
The main reason being that is because he is a conscientious older brother and tries to protect her from the truths about the world that he thinks she is too young to deal with. As scout sees this, she gains a great respect towards her brother. When Scout misses her cue for the Halloween pageant she says that Jem was becoming almost as good as Atticus at making you feel right when things went wrong (Lee, 259).
Since Jem enjoys doing “manly” things, Scout does them as well for she does not know any better and she wants to gain Jem’s respect for her. As time goes by, Jem starts to mature himself, from an irresponsible boy to a sensitive, gentlemen, Mister Jem; he is always Scout’s adored older brother. As Scout gets older, her Aunt Alexandra decides to try and get Scout to act more like the Jean Louise that she wants her be.
The only time that Aunt Alexandra was around for a long period of time was during the trial when she came to live with the Finches when Atticus was the lawyer for Tom. Even though she disagrees with her brother, Atticus, with his way of raising his children, especially Scout, who should be taught to be a lady believes that in time, she will “come around”As Scout gets a little older, she soon realizes that she will have to start acting like a lady. She begins to understand why Aunt Alexandra wants her to act the way that she does. She comes to understand her Aunt and believes there is something interesting in learning how to be a lady. She most realizes this when Jem and Dill go swimming and she couldn’t go because they are swimming nude. Aunt Alexandra decides to invite the missionary Ladies for a tea party to discuss the current events in the town of Maycomb (their hometown).
Aunt Alexandra dresses Scout up in a dress and Scout seems to like it. Opposed to the first day of school, where she didn’t want to leave her room. She sits with the ladies and they have interesting conversations. Scout begins to argue with the Ladies but then remembers her manners and decides not to challenge them. Scout helps Calprunia bring the food out and copies the way that she opens the door and come to the conclusion that being a lady isn’t as bad as she thought it would be.
Scout also begins to believe that she wants to start acting like a lady a little bit more because she is growing up and becoming a more mature everyday and she should start showing it. She also learns why her father often repeated the lesson that to understand another person, on must try to see things in their point of view. She can see why her Aunt and the missionary ladies act the way they do in trying to get Scout to be a proper young lady as she should be.
As the novel reaches it’s climax, Scout has to deal with very mature situations, though she may not fully understand the situation to it’s full extent, one would say she would be one step closer to womanhood. Scout always knew that her father was a lawyer and that he defended people, no matte what colour, nationality or race who were accused of something or charged people who did something wrong. What Scout did not understand was, why the Tom Robinson case was so big and why so many people started to question her father. Jem, Dill and Scout decided to follow Atticus one night. In the novel Scout learns that the visit was about Tom Robinson and as she quoted in the book later, she realized it was a sickeningly comic aspect of an unfunny situation (Lee, p151)
That night she learns of the racism that sounded Maycomb. For Scout, coming to terms with adult prejudice is like awakening to a whole new world of ugliness. It takes some time before she regains her equanimity, but her innocence is lost forever, for she is reveled to the real world of betrayal, racism and backstabbing. Another example in which Scout becomes more mature due to a situation is at the end of the novel; Bob Ewell attacked her and Boo Radley saved her and Jem and she had to “understand” that Boo Radley didn’t kill Bob Ewell and that he had killed himself by falling on the knife. In other words, she would have to understand that sometimes, things are better when they are left unsaid. From the beginning to the end of the novel we see a lot of changes in Scout as she grows up.
In every situation that Scout had to deal with made her understand that life isn’t always about running past Mrs. Dubose’s house and finding treasures in a knothole, but it is about dealing with racism, hatred and a lot of tough stuff. For Scout, growing up in the town of Maycomb made her a stronger person not only physically, but emotionally as well. She matured into a lady and as she reflects on her life, she realizes that without the people around her and without the events that happened. She wouldn’t be the person, or in this case the lady that she has become today.