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"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of...

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quotemaster35 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 21, 2013 at 11:00 PM via web

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"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view." How do you feel about this quote from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee? Give a 3-5 sentence answer with a quote from the book to back it up.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 22, 2013 at 2:21 AM (Answer #1)

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How anyone else feels about this quote is much less important to your teacher than how you feel, so be sure to consider others' views but share your own when you submit something for class. Your opinion is just as valid as mine or anyone else's.

This quote is found in chapter three of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and is spoken by Atticus to his daughter, Scout. He tells her

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

Atticus is trying to get Scout to understand this simple (but not so easy to live) rule for life. It is clear that this is the way Atticus lives his life, and we have many examples of it throughout the novel. He treats Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, Mayella Ewell, Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, and even Bob Ewell with much more respect than society says they deserve because he understands that they each have a story which explains their ugly or awful behaviors. 

The quote in context supports this idea:

"First of all," [Atticus] said, "if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. 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."

Atticus knows Scout needs more than words, so he gives her a vivid image, climbing into someone else's skin, to help her understand the point he is making. 

This quote is a wonderful reminder that everyone has a story and we must all learn to look beyond the surface and have more compassion on others. 

Sources:

Lori Steinbach

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