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The actual quote is below. Please help me figure out the meaning and how it links to...

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nooritawakol | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 20, 2011 at 3:45 AM via web

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The actual quote is below. Please help me figure out the meaning and how it links to Atticus's personality I think it shows Atticus's honesty.

I'd like to know the meaning of the quote and what personality traits it shows please um here it is:
"If this thing’s hushed up it’ll be a simple denial of Jem the way I’ve tried to raise him. Sometimes I think I’m a total failure as a parent, but I’m all they’ve got. Before Jem looks at anyone else, he looks at me, and I’ve tried to live so I can look squarely back at him”


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kirstendowell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted November 20, 2011 at 8:14 AM (Answer #1)

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This quote is an example of th einternal conflict within Atticus. Remember he has spent the entire novel doing the right thing. Now he is being asked to do something that he believes might be wrong. He struggles with this idea because of his good nature: his honesty, his honor and his integrity. To Atticus, this is all he has to give his children.

Earlier in the novel Jem wanted Atticus to play football, but Atticus refused saying he was too old. A younger father may have been able to teach his children certain lessons, at least i Atticus' mind. To Atticus, the only thing he can teach to his children is how to do the right thing. He believes himself to be a failure as a parent because he does not believe he has acheived this goal. Now he is being asked to cover up a crime to save the life of Boo Radley. He is faced with a dificult decision. Is it worse to cover up this crime or to allow Boo Radley, a man who has never hurt anyone, to have his entire life turned upside down?

This is a pivotal moment in the novel as well as a pivotal moment in Atticus' parental life. He has worked so hard to teach his children between right and wrong. He is struggling with what is the right thing to do and how to be the examplehe wants to be to his children.

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