In many novels, the author conveys his or her attitude towards human nature through the interactions and experiences between characters. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses a number of unique characters interacting with each other, to teach the reader life lessons. In her book, Lee strongly represents human nature through the characters, Atticus Finch, Ms. Dubose, and Arthur "Boo" Radley, and uses them to teach Scout several life lessons. She weaves her tale in such a way that both Scout and the reader alike experience the lessons collectively.
Harper Lee uses Atticus to represent many virtues of human nature she would like to teach the reader, through Scout. She describes Atticus as a very respectful man. He teaches respect for the individual to Scout through defending Tom Robinson in court. The rest of the town is against Atticus defending him, but Atticus persists to prove that Tom, as a human being, deserves respect. Atticus is also used to teach the reader and Scout alike, the lesson of understanding and compassion. When Scout has a bad day at school because of her new teacher, Atticus tells her that she will be able to understand people better if she "consider[ed] things from his [or her] point of view... climb into his [or her] skin and walk around in it." (pg30 chp3) Throughout the story, Scout practices this useful skill, and exhibits its importance on to the reader. Overall, Atticus is a fatherly figure and passes on much wisdom to his children.
Ms. Dubose is used very effectively by Harper Lee to display real courage to Scout and the reader. Ms. Dubose is sick and in great pain. She knows she will die and is trying to wean herself off her medicine (morphine) so that she can die beholden to nobody and nothing. Atticus explains to Scout and Jem that real courage; "It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." (pg112, chp11) They see Ms. Dubose, despite being a crotchety old woman, as an example of this and, as a result, the reader experiences the true courage in Ms. Dubose's actions.
Throughout the book, the nature of Arthur "Boo" Radley is a mystery to the children. At the end of the novel, the true colours of "Boo" are expressed. He represents innocence and justice. He is characterized as one of the "mockingbirds" in the story. Although Boo killed Mr. Ewell, Boo is innocent because he saved the children. Scout understands that the reason Mr. Tate wants to keep it a secret, is because Boo is a recluse and it would be like killing a Mockingbird. Through this, the reader learns the difference between justice and law; by killing a mockingbird.
Harper Lee has crafted this novel in such a way so as to pass on important life lessons to her readers. Through intimate and defined characters, she has effectively taught them respect, compassion, real courage, and difference between justice and law. Using Atticus Finch, Ms. Dubose, and "Boo" Radley, she has truly made this story a journey of morals and teachings.