Valuable Life Lessons Scout Learns in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Humans are dependent on each other. People do not manufacture their own vehicles or heal themselves from illness; indeed, members of a society rely on others for basic survival. Yet, beyond these bare necessities lies a realm in which enrichment and success in life also stem from exposure to fellow people. In Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout learns valuable life lessons through the experiences she shares with other residents of Maycomb, Alabama. It is because of her encounters with the townsfolk that Scout begins to understand how to lead a good life.

Through her interactions with her neighbors, Scout primarily learns just how detrimental an impact loneliness can have on a person. After hearing Mayella's witness statement, for instance, Scout procured that, “Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world” (Lee 218). Scout understands that Mayella was not raped; on the contrary, Mayella assaulted Tom Robinson, knowing a Negro is the only person more aloof and condemned from society than she.

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In effect, Mayella was one lonely soul, an outcast, reaching out to another. Scout realizes the Mayella's court predicament is a direct consequence of Mayella's own isolation. On a different note, in the case of Boo Radley, Scout observes, “an expression of timid curiosity was on his face, as though he had never seen a boy before” (Lee 319). Whereas Mayella's standoffish nature made her more brash, Boo's loneliness made him more fearful, nearly primitive. As a profound testament to his insecurity, Boo is so unsure of what to do in the presence of others that he acts shyly around even an unconscious child many years his junior.

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Scout knows that Boo's social awkwardness is an attribute of his life as a recluse.

Thus, through her interactions with Mayella and Boo, Scout learns how unhealthy loneliness is for the human soul. On the other hand, Scout becomes aware of a positive lesson through her other relationships. Scout comes into the knowledge that, "according to [Mrs. Dubose's] views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person [Atticus) ever knew” (Lee 149). Ironically, Scout has learned the power of courage as it lived through an unlikely source: the unremittingly irate Mrs. Dubose. The protagonist walks away from her time with Mrs. Dubose knowing not to judge people based on their appearances. After all, Mrs. Dubose was actually relatively optimistic as she braved the withdrawal symptoms of her morphine addiction. In effect, Scout learned to sympathize with others, as she did with Mrs. Dubose. Just as any other person relies on others for knowledge, Scout Finch is no exception. She learns key life lessons from her interactions with her neighbors. It is through these encounters that Scout learns how to live a good life.


Updated: Dec 12, 2023
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Valuable Life Lessons Scout Learns in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (2022, Sep 14). Retrieved from

Valuable Life Lessons Scout Learns in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee essay
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