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What are three ways that Atticus Finch shows his intelligence in the beginning, middle...

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lilliem14 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 30, 2012 at 11:34 PM via web

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What are three ways that Atticus Finch shows his intelligence in the beginning, middle and end of To Kill a Mockingbird

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

Posted October 4, 2012 at 6:06 PM (Answer #1)

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After Scout's first day of school, she wants to quit and be "home schooled" as Atticus had been. Atticus is adamant, however, that she receive a proper education at the local public school. He realizes that it may not be easy to convince Scout to return, so he devices a "compromise": He will continue to read to her each night without revealing this to Miss Caroline. Scout goes along with the slightly devious plan, and she slowly learns to adapt to her teacher and the ways of the school. Atticus adds other wise words of advice, that Scout would

"... 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."  (Chapter 3)

Atticus teaches Jem a lesson about respect and "real courage" when he forces his son to read for Mrs. Dubose for a month as punishment for nearly destroying her prize camellias. In the end, Jem learns that he has helped the old lady to kick her morphine addiction and that there are different forms of bravery: It does not always come in the form of "a man with a gun in his hand," as Atticus had done when he killed the mad dog. Instead, real courage

"... is when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."  (Chapter 11)

Atticus's intellect is evident throughout the trial of Tom Robinson. He is able to determine that Mayella's injuries could only have been caused by a left-handed man: Tom's left arm was crippled. He gets Mayella to admit with nod of her head that her father was not always "tollable" when he had been drinking, presenting the possibility that it was Bob who had beaten her. And when he "rained questions on her," Atticus managed to extract contradictory statements from Mayella. He even presents the possibility that it was not the first time Bob had beaten--or possibly even raped--Mayella when Tom reveals that

"... she never kissed a grown man before... what her papa do don't count."  (Chapter 19)

In all, it was enough damning evidence to convince an honest jury to acquit his client--had his client not been black and the jury all-white.

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