Every person relies on love from someone else and even more basic than that, loving themselves. Without love, the world would be a lonely place. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is learning who she should love. Maycomb County is the setting of the book, and the area is divided by racism and rumors. There is Ms. Dubose, who has a reputation for picking on everything and anything. Tom Robinson is African American, and who would take a black person's word over a white persons? As Scout grows up through the story, she sees that everyone in the small town has more layers and dimensions.
Loving your neighbors has been said for thousands of years. It is written in the Bible and practiced everyday. Ms. Dubose is always thought of by the children as the evil witch who was out to get them. The way she tortures them by having them read to her. She finds any way to correct behavior and share her opinions. But simply reading to Ms. Dubose could mean a lifestyle change for her. Did the kids realize they were helping her overcome a drug addiction and finish her story strong? No, they thought they were being punished for destructing her property. While it may have seemed like labarous work, they were helping her make a huge change. While Jem will never understand how important he was to her story, she will always be grateful for the way he benefitted to her recovery. When Scout learned the truth about reading to Ms. Dubose, she dusted off the important lesson, loving her neighbors.
Understanding everyone's story and putting appearances aside is something Scout learned early on in life. While some people viewed Arthur Radley as an outrageous human who should be locked up, Scout was always intrigued by his story. When Tom Robinson was found guilty and no one saw what a big mistake they made, Jem screamed and shouted and went into denial. Even though nobody saw beneath the surface of Boo and Tom, the kids knew they were human too. Scout realizes at the end of the story, and gives Boo a chance, asking him if she could walk him home. She takes his arm and lets his lead her, so he looks like he is protecting her in true gentleman fashion. She sees beneath Boos blurry reputation, and defies the social norm. She puts aside the past to create a new picture and a new future.
Harper Lee means to respect and share warmth with everyone. Harper Lee does not mean to share romantic love with everyone. Searching beneath the stereotypes and the rumors, finding a person's true colors is love. Seeing all the colors rather than just blue and orange and forgetting about the others is love. Scout walking her misunderstood neighbor home in the dead of night is love.