Most people are nice when you finally get to know them.
Scout is an outgoing, curious, and witty young girl. As the narrator, readers see her sassy sense of humor. She matures and changes a lot through the book as she is exposed to many negatives in the world around her. Most importantly, Scout learns to be more understanding of others.
“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow...we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem...said it started long before that.” (3)
The Ewells started it all.
Bob is a nasty, mean man. All readers see is his hostile, mean side. He treats everyone horribly, including his own children. He never changes; he is mean and nasty when we first meet him and stays that way up until his death in chapter 28.
“Mr. Underwood didn’t talk about miscarriages of justice, … Mr. Underwood likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children” (275)
The main theme of the novel is that it is important to understand others before judging them. Scout learns to do this with many characters including Miss Caroline, Walter Cunningham, Mrs. Dubose, Tom Robinson, and Boo Radley. Readers should take this message into their own real lives.
“Jem put his foot on the bottom step, the step squeaked. He stood still, then tried his weight by degrees.... put his foot on the porch, heaved himself to it, and teetered a long moment ...He crawled to the window, raised his head and looked in.” (59)
The opening lines of the novel foreshadow the attack on Jem and Scout near the end of the book. The mention of Jem's broken arm and the Ewell's involvement are only understood once readers finish the book.
Tom Robinson is one of the symbolic mockingbirds in the book. Like the mockingbird which provides beautiful music and doesn't harm anything, Tom doesn't do anything bad. He was only being kind and helpful, and he is unfairly prosecuted and killed for a crime he didn't commit.
The scene where Scout, Jem, and Dill sneak into the Radley yard is suspenseful. Readers wonder if they will get caught, if they will see Boo finally, and what will happen to them if they do encounter Boo.