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At Christmastime, Uncle Jack spanks Scout for swearing. Atticus tells him he had the right solution, but the wrong reason. Bad language is a phase all children go through to get attention, but Scout is about to get more attention than she wants as the trial comes to the public eye.
What bothers me is that she and Jem will have to absorb some ugly things pretty soon. I'm not worried about Jem keeping his head, but Scout'd just as soon jump on someone as look at him if her pride's at stake...." (ch 9)
Since Scout is hot-headed, she is going to have too many opportunities to test her temper when the townspeople discuss her father’s role in the trial. Atticus knows this. He worries about the effect the trial will have on Scout. She is prideful and impulsive. He does not want her getting into a bunch of fights defending his honor.
Throughout the book, Atticus tries to teach both of his children to look at things from another person's point of view. He eventually does succeed with Scout.
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