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How does Atticus seek to instill conscience in his children in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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sheristeffey | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted October 7, 2011 at 12:59 PM via web

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How does Atticus seek to instill conscience in his children in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

Posted October 7, 2011 at 1:39 PM (Answer #1)

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Atticus teaches his children about the importance of being tolerant of the actions and words of others. When Scout has problems with her teacher and Walter Cunningham on the first day of school, Atticus presents his daughter with his endearing words of wisdom about climbing into another person's skin in order to understand things from their point of view. Atticus teaches Jem and Scout to never take the life of an innocent being--it being "a sin to kill a mockingbird." He teaches the children to respect all people--black or white--and how it is far worse to take advantage of a black man than a white man. He teaches Jem that there are many types of courage (Mrs. Dubose), and that people never brag about their talents (Atticus' marksmanship). He teaches Scout that fisticuffs is no way to settle an argument, and he shows Jem that a person must pay for his acts of violence (Mrs. Dubose). He teaches them that people are not always what they seem (Boo Radley), and that even if they are, they deserve respect (Aunt Alexandra).

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