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What does this quote mean: "People generally see what they look for, and hear what they...

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mscat | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:20 PM via web

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What does this quote mean: "People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for, and they the right to subject their children to it" from To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:36 PM (Answer #1)

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Judge Taylor is basically saying that anyone who brought a child to the rape trial knew what they were in for.

Judge Taylor has some unique methods of keeping court, but even though he often seems to be asleep he is keeping track.  Tom Robinson’s trial is the event of the year, and is a spectacle.  Therefore it has a big audience.

"There has been a request," Judge Taylor said, "that this courtroom be cleared of spectators, or at least of women and children, a request that will be denied for the time being….” (ch 17)

Judge Taylor goes on to say that people have a right to subject their children to whatever they want to, and it seems as if he is saying most children won’t understand the nuances anyway, but the adults will because they are listening for them.

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