Why are Scout and Jem disappointed and ashamed when they compare Atticus to other fathers? What does Atticus do that makes them feel proud?

Expert Answers
podunc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of chapter 6, Jem and Scout are a bit disappointed in Atticus because he is "feeble" and "nearly fifty" years old. He had children rather late in life, so he is older than the fathers of their "school contemporaries." In addition to this humiliation, Atticus says he is "too old" to play tackle football with Jem, works in an office rather than on a farm or in a garage, and wears glasses. He also never hunts, plays poker, fishes, drinks, or smokes. Instead, he reads in the evenings.

Jem and Scout's opinion of Atticus changes later in the chapter when Atticus kills a rabid dog with one shot. They discover that their dad was once known as "one-shot Finch" and was the best marksman in the county. Their father's stature increases enormously in their eyes after this event.

kmullen | Student

     In Jem and Scout's eyes Atticus, who was almost fifty, was old and "feeble." He tells Jem that he is too old to play football with him. Atticus wears glasses and is in fact, almost blind in his left eye.  Atticus works in an office and does not, in Scout's view, "do anything." He does not participate in the same activities as the other fathers. He does not hunt, play poker, fish, drink or smoke. His favorite pasttime is reading. As well, Atticus does not reveal to Scout and Jem the talents he has or the reputations he has earned over the course of his life. They do not know, for instance, that Atticus is known as the best checker player on the landing, that he is well-versed on the harmonica, or most importantly, he is an expert rifleman. Jem and Scout begin to see Atticus in a new light when he is asked by the sheriff to shoot a rabid dog and his talent for shooting is revealed to them. Jem and Scout are amazed that their father, "One Shot Finch," is so talented.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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