As with anyone, Scout changes and adapts because of the people, events, and conditions she is exposed to in her youth. To Kill a Mockingbird includes many of these catalysts of change in Scout’s life. In the beginning of the novel, the stories Scout hears about Maycomb’s residents are sometimes the only perspective she has on people, and most of these stories are rumors with varying degrees of truth. This is why Atticus tells Scout to put herself in other people’s shoes, he wants her to understand things from people’s points of view. Throughout the novel, Atticus remains a source of guidance and support for Scout, while Jem is a source of information. The fact that Atticus and Jem are her father and brother, respectively, explains why they have so much of an impact on her, especially when you consider the fact that Scout never had the chance to know her mother.
Really, Scout’s conflict with her Aunt Alexandra about being a lady would not have existed had Scout’s mother raised her. The conflict takes up a large portion of the novel, and for good reason. Alexandra really threw Scout into personal and societal conflict, because she felt she couldn’t be herself or do fun things while being stuck in a frilly pink dress. In chapter 14, she says, “I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me,” which is an accurate, though dramatic look at how deeply Aunt Alexandra’s sudden pressure to become a lady affected Scout. If Scout’s mother had been alive, she would gradually eased Scout into it, and it probably would not have been a problem in the first place. By the end of the novel, Scout’s views of being a lady have not made a one-eighty, but her opinion has changed, which shows realistic maturation. In chapter 24, once she has found out about Tom Robinson’s death, Scout tells the reader, “I carefully picked up the tray and watched myself walk toward Mrs. Merriweather. With my best company manners, I asked her if she would have some. After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.” The last bit of the quote shows that Scout will happily spite her Aunt however she can, even if she has to follow her Aunt’s rules in a time of crisis.
These are only a few of the many people and conflicts that affect Scout in the novel’s three-year span, but I felt they affected Scout the most. Her father Atticus and her brother Jem are her closest family, and while she may disagree or argue with them, she takes their advice and listens to themーmost of the time. Scout’s Aunt Alexandra is the closest thing to a maternal figure to Scout in the novel, other than the ever watchful and caring Calpurnia. The fact that Scout grew up with Calpurnia there for her does not let us as readers analyze how that changed Scout’s character. The sudden inclusion of Aunt Alexandra shakes Scout to her core, giving her someone to truly treat as a mother, arguments and disagreements included. Scout changed because of the fact that she is a child, and because of the events and people she was exposed to, and To Kill a Mockingbird perfectly captures her maturation.