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What does this quote mean (as seen in To Kill a Mockingbird)?“...before I can live...

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rj1895lng | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:20 AM via web

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What does this quote mean (as seen in To Kill a Mockingbird)?

“...before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority ride is a person’s conscience.”

- Atticus Finch

 

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:42 AM (Answer #1)

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The following quote is spoken by Atticus Finch in chapter 11:

“...before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority ride is a person’s conscience.”

The importance of this quote lies in the life lessons and moral responsibilities Atticus wishes to teach his children.

The quote refers to the fact that a person cannot "live with himself/herself" unless they are being true to their own morality. If a person was to ignore their own morals, they will not be able to live with themselves. Instead of bending to the pressure of the mentality of Maycomb (meaning the prejudice thought and oppressive ideologies), Atticus is stating that a person must simply look inside themselves as to what is truly right and wrong.

Therefore, the basic interpretation of the quote by Atticus is: A person who does not live by their own morality will be overwhelmed by their own conscious. If they do not live justly (in accordance with their own ideologies), their own guilt be be too much to bear.

Sources:

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morgantickle11510 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 7, 2012 at 1:21 AM (Answer #2)

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This quote means that before she can expect others to out up with her or to accept her, she needs to learn to first accept herself because no one can accept her if she can't do it herself.

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