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Atticus is noting that as people age, they become calloused. They start to care less about the pain they cause each other. This quote is one that occurs after the trial is over. After Jem has also heard all of the evidence, he knows that Tom Robinson is innocent. However, he hears the guilty verdict and KNOWS that the jury made an injust decision. Atticus is hoping that Jem will maintain his care for others long after childhood leaves. Atticus is noting that children are greatly pained by watching inequity occur. It seems that as children, we are taught principles and we believe in their truths. But as we continue to grow, we learn that life isn't fair. It isn't equitable. Atticus knows this principle too, but still strives to see injustice righted.
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