In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout learns that Atticus has known one of her "crimes" for some time. Which one? Discuss his motives for not punishing her.

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

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I wouldn't call this particular example a "crime," but in Chapter 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout comes downstairs from her Finch Landing bedroom for a drink of water and hears Atticus and her Uncle Jack talking. So, she deliberately eavesdropsĀ on their conversation. The two brothers are talking about Scout's earlier fight with her cousin, Francis, and Atticus is giving Jack advice on how to handle children. The conversation then shifts to talk of the upcoming Tom Robinson trial. Atticus tells Jack that he took the case because he couldn't "face my children otherwise... I just hope Jem and Scout come to me for their answers instead of listening to the town. I just hope they trust me enough..." At this point, Atticus ends the conversation and calls out "Jean Louise?... Go to bed." Atticus knew she had been listening the entire time, but he wanted her to hear the conversation in the hope that she would trust him enough to honor his decisions regarding his children. Scout "scurried to my room... and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said."

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