In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, what does Miss Maudie mean when she says, "people in their right minds never take pride in their talents"?  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 10, Atticus Finch displays his marksmanship abilities by shooting and killing a rabid dog named Tim Johnson in one shot. Atticus' children are in awe of his abilities because they never expected their father to have such an amazing talent. Jem tells Miss Maudie that Atticus never said anything about his expert marksmanship abilities. Miss Maudie explains to Jem that marksmanship is a gift from God, and says, "People in their right minds never take pride in their talents" (Lee 130). Maudie is trying to tell Jem that some people are naturally gifted with extraordinary abilities, and humble people understand that God graciously granted them their talents. Intelligent individuals understand that their talents are natural gifts and do not brag about them. One of Atticus' hallmark character traits is that of humility. Atticus does not brag about his God-given marksmanship abilities to his children and only uses them when necessary. Jem, always trying to be like Atticus, tells Scout not brag about their father's talent to her friends at school. Jem wants to be a gentleman, just like his father.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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