According to the novel, what happens in the process of growing up? What factors determine what kind of adult a child becomes?
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Scout and Jem mature quite quickly throughout the book. Initially they live quite an idyllic childhood. As the novel continues they learn they lose their innocence. The mysterious gifts are from Boo Radley who turns out to be a guardian angel. They learn the ugly truth about race relations in the town. Racism runs deep in the South, justice and common sense are not enough to overcome it. Scout and Jem see that the courts, the last bastion of justice is not immune to bigotry and hate. Jem becomes a young man casting off the games of childhood and illusions of a fair world. Scout learns to look beneath appearances to see what is underneath. Sometimes it is good (Boo Radley) and sometimes it is bad (Ewell). They both mature enough to understand that their father is not boring; they understand that Atticus is heroic in the true sense of the word. I think Atticus's parenting style gives his children a mature enlightened attitude. Atticus does not hide dark issues from his children, he explores them. Atticus guides them with a context that they understand. Despite Aunt Alexandra's protest, Atticus even explores the theme of rape with Scout. The Finch kids develop a more objective and compassionate view of the world.