Homework Help

After Heck Tate leaves, Atticus must explain the lie to Scout. Why is this conversation...

user profile pic

smecnluvr4eva | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted May 29, 2010 at 8:30 AM via web

dislike 1 like

After Heck Tate leaves, Atticus must explain the lie to Scout. Why is this conversation easier than he expects?

Consider the whole book as you answer. Then look specifically at the conversation on the porch and find the one word used by Tate that made it easy for Scout to see the necessity of the lie. This was in Chapter 30. Thank you so much!

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 29, 2010 at 8:43 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

I think the one word that Heck Tate uses is the word "sin."  Way back in Chapter 10, Atticus says that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird.  When Tate uses that word in this situation, it probably reminds Scout of that phrase.

Through the whole book, Atticus has been trying to teach his kids that you are supposed to feel compassion for all people.  He wants them to treat everyone like they matter and not to abuse people just because the people are weak.  Tate is saying that subjecting Boo Radley to all the attention would be a sin -- it would be abusing Boo, who is weak in this case because he is so shy.

Because Atticus has been preaching this idea so much, it is obvious to Scout and the conversation is easy.

user profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 29, 2010 at 8:41 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

Before Atticus has a chance to do much explaining to Scout, she tells him that it's the right move.

    Atticus sat looking at the floor for a long time. Finally, he raised his head. "Scout," he said, "Mr. Ewell fell on his knife. Can you possibly understand?"
    Atticus looked like he needed cheering up. I ran to him and hugged him and kissed him with all my might. "Yes sir, I understand," I reassured him. "Mr. Tate was right."
    Atticus disengaged himself and looked at me. "What do you mean?"
    "Well, it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?"

Atticus rubbed Scout hair, and "his youthful step had returned." As Atticus told his brother, Jack, earlier in the story, it's best to be straight with kids, since they can " 'spot an evasion quicker than adults.' "

I would say that the key word mentioned by Sheriff Tate during his explanation is "sin." He repeated it more than once. Scout has spent time in church and has already been told that it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. She, no doubt, saw the similarities between the helpless bird and Boo. The other word I like is "limelight." Boo certainly would not have been comfortable in that type of situation.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes