To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
Start Your Free Trial

“Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!” says Jem.Does Scout the narrator approve of this concept of gentlmanliess?

Expert Answers info

M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer, ESL/TEFL Instructor

bookM.A. from Chapman University

calendarEducator since 2008

write5,713 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

In chapter 10 of Harper Lee'sTo Kill a Mockingbirdwe find Scout and Jem starting to have questions about their father's life; about the way he lives, whether he is too old, about why he wears glasses, or why he does not act like other parents who teach their kids to do things such as play football, or shoot guns.

This is a normal stage of development and it clearly shows that Scout and Jem are no longer self-centered children, but growing youngsters that are beginning to look around their world. Moreover, things are beginning to occur in the community as a result of Atticus's participation in the Robinson case; the shunning of the community and the lack of lustre that the kids feel their family is experiencing make them doubt the manliness and strength of their father.

However, an important incident occurs in this chapter: A rabid dog appears out of nowhere and it is up to the town's sheriff and Atticus to control the situation. Regardless of his dislike of guns and his lack of macho verbiage, it is Atticus who shoots the rabid dog, and becomes the shining star in his children's eyes. For the first time Jem and Scout realize that their father may not have the talk, but he has the dignity and humbleness of the true warrior at heart.

Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.

Scout may have, at first, disagreed with this, as she is the youngest child and still quite stubborn of opinion.This is even more evident when she hears her father say something as shocking to her ears as Atticus's ideas of courage. Yet, it is obvious that it is all out of love.

She is the one who is most affected at her father's social shunning because, as a girl, she feels an overwhelming love for her father. However, the fact that Jem calls his father "gentleman" and compares his father to himself is quite huge: It represents that Jem is willing to accept the right of passage of filling his father's shoes; he is ready to be like his dad when he becomes an adult.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial