To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does Scout make sense of an earlier remark of Atticus's as she stands on the Radley porch? Chapter 31

Expert Answers info

luannw eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write1,060 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Math

Earlier in the story, Atticus told Scout to try to see things from others' perspectives.  He told her to try to stand in another person's shoes to look at the world from the view of the other person.  As Scout stands on the Radley front porch after having walked Arthur (Boo) Radley home at the end of the story, Scout finally fully understands what point her father was trying to make.  Standing there, Scout could literally see what Boo looked at and watched all that time, and she could figuratively see and understand why Boo stayed inside like he did.  She realized that he was not a malevolent figure as they'd made him out to be in their childish play; he was a person just like she was a person.  But he was a person with a personality vastly different from Scout's.  Scout makes a big leap in maturity as she stands on the Radley front porch and comes to see that in order to help understand another person and that person's motivations, it's good to try to look at the world through that person's eyes.  Scout understands that much prejudice comes from people's inability or unwillingness to do just that.  During the story, Scout saw how prejudice got Tom Robinson arrested for a crime he didn't commit and how that led to his death.  She also saw prejudice in many of the people of Maycomb and she saw it for its ugliness.  By learning Atticus's lesson in his words, Scout will not become one of the prejudiced members of society.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Susan Hurn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write2,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

At the conclusion of the novel, after Scout has walked Boo home and seen him safely inside, she stands for a moment on the Radley porch and looks at her street from a new viewpoint. As she pauses, she remembers the many events that had transpired there throughout the many months that had elapsed. Standing where Boo lived and reliving events as he must have seen them reminds Scout of what Atticus had once tried to explain to her and Jem:

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.

Scout has grown up a great deal throughout the course of the story. She has come to realize an essential truth about understanding and accepting others, especially those who seem so different from ourselves.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

zumba96 | Student

Atticus before tells her that you cannot know a person until you are in their shoe and perceive things from their point of view. She understood why Boo stayed inside his home the entire time and that Boo was just a normal human being warped by the view of society. She starts to understand the racism and prejudices within society and she starts to become more mature as she understands the real world and upholds a strong sense of morals. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
nickman54 | Student

Earlier in the book, Atticus tells Scout that you can’t get to know a person until you never really know a person until you consider things from their point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. After Scout had walked Boo Radley home, she sees what her father had meant. Standing on the Radley porch, Scout could see what Boo had looked at all those years and she could understand why he stayed inside all that time. She discovered that Boo wasn’t an evil person like she had though before. He was actually a human being, a person just like her even if he was different from most people. As she stands there, she can see the world through Boo’s eyes and realizes how different his perspective is. She can understand the source of racism and prejudice. It is the incapability to see the world from other people’s perspectives. She becomes more mature that day and learns a lesson from Atticus’ words. She had seen what prejudice can do to people (for example, Tom Robinson’s wrongful conviction) and she vows never to become like them.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
tledds1996 | Student

Boo is a mockingbird.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial