What role does this advice play in developing Scout's compassion for others in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Atticus tells Scout that she needs to walk in her teacher's shoes before judging her after Scout's terrible first day of school.
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Scout takes Atticus' advice to heart and uses it throughout the remainder of the novel. Atticus explained that Miss Caroline's decision to try and provide young Walter Cunningham with money for lunch (he refused to accept it) was an honest mistake on her part, and if Scout and Walter "had put ourselves in her shoes," they would have understood that as a newcomer to town, she could not be expected to learn the town's ways in a single day. Scout uses this advice effectively at the end of the novel after she escorts Boo Radley back home following the attack by Bob Ewell. After Boo closes the door behind him, Scout turns and gazes from the Radley porch at the neighborhood before her, pretending to stand in Boo's own shoes and visualizing the scene through his eyes.
Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.
Scout had just previously agreed with Sheriff Heck Tate's decision to call Ewell's death self-inflicted. She knew that from his point of view, Tate thought he was making a just decision in order to keep Boo from facing a public investigation. Scout also felt some compassion for Mayella Ewell, though she understood that Mayella had falsely accused Tom Robinson, and she recognized the hatred that Mayella had for Atticus.
... she seemed somehow fragile-looking... and I was somehow reminded of the row of red geraniums in the Ewell yard.
And, at the missionary circle tea, Scout even feels compassion for her Aunt Alexandra. Following Atticus' announcement of Tom's death, Scout sees Miss Maudie and Alexandra quickly recover and, as if nothing had happened, resume serving refreshments. Scout was impressed.
After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.
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