What kind of relationship does Scout have with Atticus in  To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Atticus and Scout have a somewhat detached but loving and respectful relationship.

Atticus is no ordinary father.  For one thing, he is a single parent.  His wife died, leaving him with two children.  He raises them in the best way that he knows how, but his methods are different from most of his time period.

Scout and Jem call Atticus by his first name, instead of “father” or “dad,” but they are not being disrespectful.  They also usually refer to him as Atticus, but address him as “sir” as well.  This is part of Atticus’s unique parenting style.

Atticus treats his children with respect.  Even though Scout is only about six to nine years old over the course of the book, he often talks to her like an adult.  He threatens to “wear out” his children, but he actually never whips either of them.  Scout describes her father this way.

Jem and I found our father satisfactory: he played with us, read to us, and treated us with courteous detachment. (ch 1)

Yet Scout respects her father.  She trusts his judgment.  Her father is a wise man, and often gives her very useful advice about getting along with people when she has trouble with her first grade teacher. 

 “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-"


"-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." (ch 3)

Scout learns to respect people from Atticus, but she also learns about love.  Although Atticus is generally detached, he does show affection.

"Come here, Scout," said Atticus. I crawled into his lap and tucked my head under his chin. He put his arms around me and rocked me gently. (ch 9)

In some ways, Atticus and Scout understand each other perfectly.  Scout runs to Atticus with every problem.  She trusts his judgment.  Most important of all, she knows he loves her.


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