"It is the characters in stories that influence a reader’s views." Explain how one or more characters  have shaped your views of one or more ideas explored in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 23, Atticus shows the extent to which he considers other people's feelings. This is not a new moral nor was it when the book was written or set. It's clear that Atticus is the logical and moral guide in To Kill a Mockingbird. He is able to look past the social and historical prejudices of his town and time in American history. Supplementing that moral objectivity, Atticus always considers things from the perspective of others. This is obvious in the case of Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. But Atticus considers even those who don't deserve his consideration. In Chapter 23, when Jem is concerned about Bob Ewell spitting in Atticus' face, Atticus says: 

So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there.

Even after being disrespected this way by a man Atticus knows to be a liar and a child abuser, he still considers Bob Ewell's perspective and it is in this empathy that he understands that he can accept abuse from Bob Ewell that would otherwise be given to Mayella. This was the view from the novel that I found most affecting: the extent to which "standing in someone's shoes" can allow you to be more open-minded, to see the world in different ways, and to understand why people act the way they do. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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