In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, how does Atticus feel about public education?

1 Answer | Add Yours

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus is very supportive of public education, as he is of most things within Maycomb.

Although Scout does not want to attend school, Atticus is firm.

...they'd put me in jail if I kept you at home.

When Atticus discovers that Miss Caroline does not want Atticus teaching his daughter to read anymore, even though she reads better than her classmates, Atticus devises a way that they can continue to read together by keeping it secret. So he shows support of what is happening in the public school, but does not openly flaunt his disagreement with Miss Caroline's tatics. He agrees to make a compromise so that both "sides" are satisfied.

Scout reminds Atticus that the Ewells only ever attend the first day of school and no one gets in trouble for that; Atticus reminds Scout that the Ewells are something of an exception. Bob Ewell drinks away all the money he gets, and surviving is a difficult proposition for the Ewells. Many of the rules don't apply to this family.

Atticus still supports the general institution of school:

'Let us leave it at this, ' said Atticus dryly. 'You, Miss Scout Finch, are of the common folk. You must obey the law.'

As is the case with Atticus in most things, he is flexible and good-natured. He tries to find common ground where everyone will get what he or she needs, without creating difficulties.

We’ve answered 317,286 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question