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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus influences Scout in a variety of ways.

First, Atticus discusses issues with Scout as if she is an adult, even if she reacts just like a child. When Scout wants to quit school, have a dirty mouth, or learn the meaning of rape, Atticus deals with it matter-of-factly. He just tells her how it should be. She learns from each of these lessons and the result is that her behaviors change later.

Atticus positions Scout to learn from examples and experiences. The kids press Atticus to be a 'cool' dad, but Atticus is too humble. Fortunately they learn from his Ol' One Shot reputation and the situation with Mrs. Dubose that he is indeed a good dad, and that he takes the opportunity to teach based on their experiences.

Finally, Atticus does the right thing and Scout watches. Atticus didn't hold anything back in defending Tom Robinson even after his friends encouraged him to watch out and the mob at the jail that night made him feel threatened. Scout learns through watching the colored folks appreciation through gifts of food the next day that people who do good things reap good rewards. To Kill a Mockingbird is a great book that demonstrates those rewards aren't always in monetary value, but often through the building of character.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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