How do people step into other people's shoes in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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There are several examples of Jem and Scout taking Atticus's advice to

"...climb into his skin and walk around in it"  (Chapter 3)

before judging other people's actions. It is a repeating act that reflects the theme of tolerance in the novel. Sadly, most of the people of Maycomb do not practice Atticus's words. Presumably, Scout decides to do so before returning to school the next day and dealing with Miss Caroline again. At the end of the novel, Scout steps into Boo's shoes and gazes out upon her neighborhood, seeing things as Boo saw them for the past two years.

Atticus was right. One day 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)

Atticus also suggests that Jem stand in Bob Ewell's shoes in order to understand his hatred for Atticus.

"I destroyed his last shred of dignity... the man had to have some sort of comeback..."  (Chapter 23)

Sheriff Heck Tate utilizes Atticus's advice when he steps into Boo's shoes before deciding to call Bob Ewell's death self-inflicted.

"... taking the one man who's done you and this town a great service an' draggin' him and his shy ways into the limelight--to me, that's a sin."  (Chapter 30)


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