How do the mentors Atticus, Mrs. Maudie, Calpurnia, or any other mentors you can think of (I only need 2) teach Jem AND Scout? I need 1 quotation showing how they ARE a mentor and 1 quotation...

How do the mentors Atticus, Mrs. Maudie, Calpurnia, or any other mentors you can think of (I only need 2) teach Jem AND Scout?

I need 1 quotation showing how they ARE a mentor and 1 quotation showing how Jem AND scout learn from them (something that the mentor teaches them and then they actually do later in the book would be optimal) per mentor (so 4 in total).  Much appreciated.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus and Miss Maudie demonstrate their abilities to be good mentors in different ways.

Atticus Finch sets an excellent example for his children as he always makes efforts to treat people with respect and compassion. For instance, despite the insults of Mrs. Dubose, he remains polite whenever he speaks to her as he passes her house on his way home. After Mrs. Dubose dies, Atticus calls her "the bravest person I ever knew" (Ch.11), and he tells the children how courageous she has been in facing death without morphine to kill her pain. Atticus also explains to Jem and Scout that real courage is not a gun in a man's hand, instead:

[I]t's when you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.

This bravery is exemplified when Atticus later assumes the defense of Tom Robinson. Further, even though he knows during the trial that Mayella Ewell's claims of physical and sexual attacks by Tom Robinson are falsifications made because of pressure from her father, Atticus remains polite both when he addresses Mayella and when he interrogates her. For he says "Miss Mayella" and "ma'am" before asking his questions.

After the children witness the way in which Atticus conducts himself at the trial, they come away with a heightened sense of compassion for people less fortunate than they. Jem begins to have an understanding and sympathy for Boo Radley who retreats from society, and he asks his father about the verdict, "How could they do it, how could they?" Scout's earlier thought that Tom Robinson "is just a Negro" certainly changes as she realizes what a kind man Tom has really shown himself to be. She, too, is made aware of the injustice of the verdict against Tom.

Miss Maudie Atkinson acts as an exemplar, or living model, for many of the rules of life which Atticus wishes his children to follow. For instance, after Scout's first day of school, Atticus urges his daughter to try to understand her teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher, by considering the woman's point of view. Simplifying this explanation, he tells Scout that she must try to understand a person by "climb[ing] into his skin and walk[ing] around in it." (Ch.3)

In Chapter 5 Miss Maudie "climbs" into the skin of Boo Radley and demonstrates her understanding of this hidden man about whom the children are so curious. For example, in response to Scout's question about why Arthur Radley remains in his house, Miss Maudie says,

Arthur Radley just stays in the house, that's all....Wouldn't you stay in the house if you didn't want to come out? (Ch.5)

Later on, Jem comprehends the meaning of Miss Maudie's comment about Boo Radley. When a disillusioned Jem talks with his sister about people after the trial, Scout decides that there is "just one kind of folks. Folks." Hearing this, Jem is at first silent. Then, he remarks:

If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other?  If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Scout, I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this's because he wants to stay inside.

Jem now has an understanding that Boo has experienced the meanness and prejudices of human beings which he himself has witnessed at the trial. As a result, Boo no longer wants anything to do with people.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Maudie Atkinson gives both Jem and Scout plenty of advice in To Kill a Mockingbird. She teaches Scout about the ways of the mockingbird; she discusses with Jem the importance of Atticus to the community; she tells them both about Atticus' skills--both as a lawyer and a marksman; and she gives them cake when they deserve it. Jem and Scout both know that they can come to Maudie for questions or if they have a problem. She doesn't pry into their lives; she is simply "our friend."

Calpurnia is more than just the Finch housekeeper: She is also the surrogate mother for Jem and Scout (at least until Alexandra arrives). She teaches them manners and how to behave with company. She rarely voices her opinion about others (especially white people), but the children do pick up some factual information from her on occasion. She has taught both Jem and Scout how to write cursive, and she protects them when they need protecting (ex: the mad dog, and Lula at the church) and worries about them when they are absent (ex: the trial). Scout hates her when she is younger (Jem already seems to understand her), but she comes to realize the scoldings she gets from Cal are heartfelt and out of a love for them.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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