Atticus teaches his children many things, but his lesson to look at things from another person’s point of view is certainly one of the best lessons Scout and Jem can learn. He brings this up after Scout has an awful first day of school and decides she will never go back. To her, the young teacher Miss Caroline is mean and unfair. Atticus counsels Scout:
“First of all,” he 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.”
Scout looks at things from Miss Caroline’s point of view and begins to understand why she acted the way she did. Though Scout does not realize it, she is learning to feel empathy for others and their situations. Empathy can go a long way toward preventing anger.
Scout and Jem also change their feelings about Mrs. Dubose, the spiteful old woman who lived down the street. She sat on her porch, called them names, and then insulted Atticus too. Eventually Jem and Scout learn the reason for her behavior and realize she was not the horrible woman they thought; she was a courageous woman making a difficult choice in order to die with her personal integrity intact.
When Scout and Jem go to First Purchase Church with Calpurnia, they see Calpurnia in a new way. They begin to understand her a little more, and they sense the racial tensions even within the African American community.
During the trial, Bob Ewell spits in Atticus’s face. However, Atticus does not retaliate. Instead, he models looking at the situation from Mr. Ewell’s point of view: Mr. Ewell believes Atticus humiliated him and he is embarrassed and angry. As Atticus explains to Jem, it was better for Mr. Ewell to take out his anger by spitting on Atticus than by beating one of the young Ewell children.
Perhaps Scout’s most insightful look into another person’s point of view occurs at the end of the novel, as she stands on Boo Radley’s porch. Both literally and figuratively, she is seeing Maycomb from Boo’s point of view. He is no longer a scary man just short of a goblin; he is a quiet, gentle, shy man who is not able to function in society.