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What does Scout wish was different about Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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alizee | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 15, 2010 at 9:48 PM via web

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What does Scout wish was different about Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

Posted April 15, 2010 at 11:03 PM (Answer #1)

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Before Scout discovers some of Atticus' talents previously unknown to her, she expresses some disappointments about her father. Since "he was nearly fifty," he was older than most of her friends' fathers, and his advanced age and late start at parenting "reflected upon his abilities and manliness." Scout wished Atticus had a more exciting job, such as a farmer, mechanic or dump-truck driver. His glasses and poor inherited eyesight were a sore point. Additionally, "He never went hunting, he did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke." When Atticus caught Scout aiming her air rifle at Miss Maudie's rear end, he warned her to never point it at anybody again. At that point, Scout "wished my father was a devil from hell," echoing Miss Maudie's joking retort to Atticus' remark about Scout's "genrous target."

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 15, 2010 at 9:54 PM (Answer #2)

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In the first half of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout naively wishes for and/or regrets the following regarding her father:

  • that he play football for the Methodists (i.e., be more physical and active); this is mainly Jem's gripe, but Scout echoes it
  • that he defends "niggers," which causes her trouble at school from boys' taunting
  • that he has already taught her to read, thus causing her grief with her first grade teacher, who says she has been taught incorrectly

In short, she resents him not being like the other, younger "dads" who treat children, well, as children.  She doesn't yet realize just how trusting Atticus is when he refuses to treat his children condescendingly.  She will change her mind on all of the above points later, after the trial.

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latinlover | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted April 16, 2010 at 2:16 AM (Answer #3)

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She wishes that her father was like others, she taught that Atticus was old, because he didn’t liked to go out and play with her, she wanted Atticus to go out and play ball. Atticus, was an eccentric dad, he liked to enjoy his family but in a totally different way and plus, he didn’t have time because he was working on the trial with Tom.

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