Why does Atticus say Scout is cussing in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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Atticus believes that bad language is a stage that all children go through, that she does not know what she is saying, and that she will grow out of it.

During the Christmas visit with the family, Scout swears often.  This is something she is trying out.  Even though most adults do not approve of children swearing, Atticus does not seem to care.  He thinks that she is just trying to get attention.

Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it. (ch 9)

Uncle Jack tells Scout not to swear, and warns her that he will punish her if she does.  When she fights with Francis and he catches her, Uncle Jack spanks her.  Jack is surprised when this upsets Scout, because he warned her.  She tells him that he doesn’t understand children, and it hurts her that she does not stop to listen to her side of the story.

Atticus's parenting skills come under fire at several points in the book.  He has interesting ways of raising children, but his children seem to turn out well.  Basically, he does not care what others think.  He wants his children to become good people, he does not want to force them into it.


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