In To Kill a Mockingbird, how does Scout apply Atticus's advice and how can we apply his advice today?

Atticus states, "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."

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout applies Atticus' advice on empathizing with other's by shedding her immature prejudices, befriending Boo, and sympathizing with Tom Robinson in a display of emotional growth. This piece of advice continues to be relevant today as modern day conflicts make it difficult to see other's points of view.

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Boo Radley is Scout and Jem's neighbor. He is a shut-in who only leaves his home at night and, as such, fuels much of the town's gossip. Jem and Scout invent wild stories about Boo influenced by rumors, most notably that Boo kills the neighbor's pets.

Throughout the novel, Atticus FinchScout and Jem's fatheris the voice of moral reasoning, endeavoring to teach his children about wrong and right and on how to be kind and empathetic individuals. Scout learns from her father's central lesson, growing in maturity and understanding for marginalized individuals like Boo. At the end of the novel, Boo asks Scout to walk him home. Scout respects Boo’s fear and protects him and his dignity by making it look as if Boo is the one who is walking her down the street. Scout learns to put herself in another person’s "skin" and comes to see Boo as a human being and not as some ghost-like, evil figure created by irrational, cruel town rumors (and fueled earlier in the novel by her childish imagination and fear).

We can all learn from Atticus' advice, especially today when things in the world appear so polarized and hostile. In order to overcome our modern day conflicts, it's important to question and challenge the occasionally baseless assumptions that we hold about other people who are different from us. Instead of jumping to conclusions and repeating the narratives that have been past down to us, we need to try and develop a better understanding about others' experiences and point of views.

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Scout apples Atticus's advice by learning to think about the perspective of other people as she navigates her life. She realizes that she cannot judge someone simply by considering that person based on her own experiences and perspectives. Scout begins to understand that she must, in fact, think about what life must be like from the other person's perspective and experience.

Scout applies this advice from Atticus when she considers Boo Radley at the end of the novel. She stands on his porch and visualizes the neighborhood from his point of view and appreciates him for the person that he is and the experiences he has had.

This advice can certainly be applied in all manners of situations we face in life, but particularly, this advice is potently applied when learning how to counter social conditioning that propels racial stereotypes.

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Scout uses Atticus's advice many times throughout the novel. For example, she uses this rule to find empathy for Mayella Ewell, an easily deplorable character, and imagines how lonely and afraid she must feel on the witness stand. After finally meeting Boo Radley, Scout literally puts herself in his position by standing on the Radley's porch and seeing the neighborhood from his viewpoint. Scout shows empathy for a number of other characters, as well, including Tom Robinson, Walter Cunningham, Jr. (who she defends at school), and Walter Cunningham, Sr (who she consoles for his "entailment.")

In our own lives, we can use this advice is an endless number of ways. Most importantly, we can imagine the perspectives of those who are different from us or disagree with us in order to fully acknowledge the humanity in all of us.

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Atticus's advice to his daughter concerns perspective as he challenges her to metaphorically climb into other people's skin to fully understand their point of view before casting judgment. Scout applies her father's lesson regarding perspective several times in the novel as she matures and develops into a morally upright person. In chapter 7, Scout refrains from bothering Jem after he returns from the Radley yard. She thinks from his perspective, which allows her to sympathize with his stressful situation. Scout also applies her father's advice during the Tom Robinson trial when Mayella Ewell testifies. Scout imagines being Mayella and sympathizes with her difficult, lonely life. Following Bob Ewell's attack, Scout meets Boo Radley for the first time and walks him home. After Boo enters his home, Scout once again applies her father's lesson regarding perspective by standing on Boo's front porch and looking out at the neighborhood. Scout metaphorically climbs into Boo's skin and views the neighborhood from his unique perspective for the first time. One can apply Atticus's advice by considering another person's point of view in order to sympathize with their situation.

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At the end of the novel, Scout stands on Boo Radley's porch after walking him home.  As she turns around to head back home, she stops and begins to see the neighborhood and everything that happens in it from Boo's point of view. 

She sees Jem, Dill and herself walking down the sidewalk with the fishing pole and the letter to Boo.  She sees them acting out their "play" of Boo and his family.  She sees them building a mud/snowman.  She sees the fire at Miss Maudie's house.  Most importantly, she sees how Boo views them as "his children."  When the time came and the children "needed him," he came out and saved their lives.  She repeats his advice while she's on Boo's porch, and says "standing on his porch was enough." 

As a teacher, I may disapprove of a student's clothing, thinking it's inappropriate.  However, that student may not have the money to buy something new.  The clothes may be tight because they were from a year ago and are now a size too small.  I must see the whole picture before I judge too quickly.

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