Find two of Atticus's "sayings" in To Kill a Mockingbird which seem important to Scout, and explain what they mean.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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ATTICUS'S LESSON ON TOLERANCE

"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."  (Atticus to Scout, Chapter 3)

Scout may have not appreciated her father's advice immediately after experiencing a disappointing first day of school, but she used the advice as she grew older. She fully understands its full implications at the end of the story when she stands on the Radley porch, looking over her neighborhood as if standing in Boo's shoes and seeing things through his eyes. The neighborhood looks different from her new perspective--"this angle"--and she has a new admiration for the man she had once feared but to whom she now owed her life.

     Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.  (Chapter 31)

THE INNOCENCE OF THE MOCKINGBIRD

"... remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."  (Atticus to Jem, Chapter 10)

On the surface, Atticus's advice seems to be about the inhumane act of killing the innocent mockingbird, which only "sing their hearts out for us," but the songbird also represents the human beings in the story who are accused of crimes of which they are not guilty. Scout recognizes this for herself on Halloween after Boo Radley has come to her rescue and saved her life. She agrees with Sheriff Tate's decision to call Bob Ewell's death self-inflicted, preventing Boo the sin of "draggin' him with his shy ways into the limelight."

"Mr. Tate was right."
     Atticus disengaged himself and looked at me. "What do you mean?"
     "Well, it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?"  (Chapter 30)


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