To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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"I can't live one way in town and another way in home." What does Atticus mean by this? Give examples from the book.

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The first example of what Atticus means by this comes up in the context of this statement. Mr. Tate, the sheriff, has come over to tell Atticus that Bob Ewell was killed falling on his knife. Atticus debates this version of events, saying that Jem stabbed him and that this has to come out in the open so people aren't whispering about it. When Atticus says he has to be the same inside the house and in town, he means that he can't say to the world at large he lives with honesty and integrity and then do something underhanded, like lie, to get his son out of a manslaughter or murder charge.

Atticus says:

if I connived at something like this, frankly I couldn’t meet his eye, and the day I can’t do that I’ll know I’ve lost him. I don’t want to lose him and Scout, because they’re all I’ve got.

Another example of Atticus needing to behave with integrity...

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bmadnick eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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