“Everything in life can teach you a lesson, you just have to be willing to observe and learn” -Ritu Ghatourey. Everyone learns crucial life lessons in their lives through various aspects of life around them, whether they realize it or not. Learning these lessons is a crucial part of losing one’s simple, childlike way of life. Throughout the novel To Kill A Mockingbird Jem and Scout lose their innocence through numerous life lessons they learn. One way in which they learn these lessons is through their personal experiences. Another way is through their personal discoveries caused by their maturity.
Finally, they learn life lessons that cause them to lose their innocence through events they observe. Jem and Scout lose their innocent view of the world, and learn meaningful life lessons through experiences they have. They first learn lessons about courage. Meeting Mrs. Dubose causes them to learn about the reality of courage. After helping Mrs Dubose, Atticus tells the children, “I wanted you to see what real courage is” (Lee 149). Through this experience, Jem and Scout learn a life lesson about how courage is not just physical like a man with a gun, but mental as well.
They are no longer innocent children, and they learn that not everything society tells them is true. They also experience brutality, which causes them to learn lessons about the true cruelty of the world. Bob Ewell’s attack on the children causes them to lose their innocent view of the world. Heck Tate tells the group gathered around Jem’s bed that “There’s just some kind of men you have to shoot before you can hidy to ’em” (Lee 361). Scout learns an important lesson that not all men are as genuine and kind as her father Atticus.
She learns the true cruelty that some men, like Bob Ewell, are capable of, although it seems barely humanly possible. The children also experience goodness in the world that teaches them, especially Scout, that not all men are bad and causes them to lose their innocence. After meeting Boo Radley, Scout says, “As I made my way home, I felt very old” (374). Some valuable life lessons about courage and cruelty that exist in the world that cause Scout and Jem to lose their innocence, are learned through their personal experiences.
The children also lose their innocence through their discoveries caused by their maturity. As a result of Scout growing up, she learns she must soon become a lady. After sitting in with Aunt Alexandra’s missionary circle, Scout realizes, “There’s no doubt about it, I must soon enter this world” (Lee 313). Through this personal discovery, she learns a life lesson about unfairness and how all girls must behave like women as they grow up, and how girls cannot act like foolish children who spend all their time playing even if they want to like boys can do.
Another personal discovery they make is that certain things that used to occupy their minds and imaginations no longer do. When walking to the courthouse on halloween night, Scout says, “Haints, Hot Steams, incantations, secret signs, had vanished with our years” (Lee 340). The children have seen and experienced true cruelties of the world, so with their age and maturity they have discovered that these types of things are no longer terrifying.
Although they may not realize it, they have learned the lesson about growing up and maturing and this has caused them to lose their innocence because they can no longer live life as children, and being a child is often associated with being innocent. The personal discoveries the children make about the world around them teach them essential life lessons and cause them to lose their innocence. Finally, Jem and Scout learn imperative life lessons that cause them to lose their innocence through their many observations.
Witnessing the rabid dog and Atticus shooting it causes their innocence to be lost. When Atticus shoots Tim “the rifle cracked. Tim Johnson leaped, flooded over and crumpled on the sidewalk” (Lee 127). Here, they learn about a true cruelty of the world and how mockingbirds like Tim die, and they also learn a hidden talent their father has. Another view that causes the children to no longer see life through the innocent eyes of children is the trial. After witnessing this event, Jem states, “I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world” (Lee 288).
Tom’s trial teaches the children another important lesson about the cruelty that exists in the world. They have lost innocence because it causes them to rethink everything they were taught as innocent children. Overall the observations the children make concerning all the events occurring around them cause them to learn fundamental life lessons about what really goes on and as a result, they have lost their innocence. In conclusion, learning essential life lessons causes Scout and Jem in To Kill A Mockingbird to lose their innocence.