In To Kill a Mockingbird, where in the book does Atticus show humility?  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus shows his humility by not mentioning or bragging about his expert marksmanship abilities to his children.

At the beginning of Chapter 10, Scout laments about her father's age and lack of interesting talents. One day, a rabid dog named Tim Johnson staggers down the main road of Maycomb and Sheriff Tate arrives at the scene with a rifle. Sheriff Tate proceeds to give his rifle to Atticus and tells him to take the shot. Atticus reluctantly takes the rifle and shoots Tim Johnson right above his left eye, killing him in one shot. Both Scout and Jem are in awe of their father's amazing marksmanship abilities, and Miss Maudie says, "I saw that, One-Shot Finch!" (Lee 61). Atticus then tells Jem not to go near the dead rabid dog, and Jem is at a loss for words. Sheriff Tate says to Jem, "What’s the matter with you, boy, can’t you talk?...Didn’t you know your daddy’s—" (Lee 62). Atticus immediately says, "Hush, Heck...let's go back to town" (Lee 62).

After Atticus leaves, Jem sits down bewildered, and Miss Maudie tells him that Atticus' nickname as a boy was Ole' One-Shot. Jem admits that Atticus never said anything about being an expert marksman, and Maudie explains that Atticus realizes that his marksmanship abilities are a gift from God. She says, "People in their right minds never take pride in their talents" (Lee 62). Later that day, Scout mentions that she can't wait to tell everyone at school on Monday that Atticus is the deadest shot in Maycomb. Jem tells Scout not to say anything because if Atticus wanted them to know about his talents he would have told them. Atticus is a humble man and never bragged about his unique talent to his children.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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