How does Scout see Atticus as a father?

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schulzie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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It must be remembered that Scout is between six and eight years old when she tells this story.  Atticus is an older father, older than the fathers of her friends and classmates, and she feels that is a detriment.  She says,

"Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty.   When Jem and I asked him why he was so old, he said he got started late, which we felt reflected on his abilities and manliness." (pg 89)

When Jem wanted to play football, Atticus would beg off, using age as an excuse.

"Jem was football crazy.  Atticus was never too tired to play keep-away, but when Jem wanted to tackle him, Atticus would say,'I'm too old for that,son.'" (pg 89)

He couldn't see well out of his left eye and wore glasses.  To the children, that aged him. They also felt he didn't do anything as interesting as the other fathers. 

"Our father didn't do anything.  He worked in an office, not in a drugstore.  Atticuse did not drive a dump-truck for the county, he was not the county sheriff, he did not farm, work in a garage, or do anything that could possibly arouse the admiration of anyone. "(pg 89)

"He did not do things our classmates father's did: he never went hunting, he did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke. He sat in the living room and read. " (pg 89)  

With these attributes, however, he would not remain as inconspicuous as we wished him to." (pg 89)

When Scout goes to Miss Maudie and asks her to tell them something that would make them proud of their father, Miss Maudie says that he can play the Jew's Harp.

" This modest accomplishment served to make me even more ashamed of him." (pg 91)

Scout changed her mind a little when she sees Atticus shoot the mad dog.  Jem tells her not to say anything and she responds with,

"What? I certainly am. Ain't everybody's daddy the deadest shot in Maycomb County." (pg 98)

When Atticus would pass by Mrs. Dubose's house on the way home with the children, he would stop and converse with Mrs. Dubose.  Scout said,

"He would tell her the courhouse news, and would say he hoped with all his heart she'd have a good day tomorrow.......It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived." ( pg 100)

When Jem gets in trouble for cutting off Mrs. Dubose's camellia buds from her bushes, Atticus sends him over to apologize.  Scout feels that Atticus has sent Jem to his death, and Jem was all she had. 

"I hated him (Atticus) for that,but when you are in trouble you become easily tired; soon I was hiding in his lap and his arms were around me." (pg 104)

Jem gets upset when Atticus loses the trial and they convict Tom Robinson of rape.  He is moody and takes it out on Scout.  Scout is upset and goes to Atticus.

"I was too surprised to cry.  I crept from Jem's room and shut the door softly, lest undue noise set him off again.  Suddenly tired, I wanted Atticus.  He was in the livingroom and I went to him and tried to get in his lap." (pg 247)

Scout is embarrassed that he is older than the other fathers, but she loves and respects him.  He is her security and confidant.  She talks to him about everything.  She feels secure in his arms and in his presence.


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