Name two reasons Harper Lee uses the final line spoken by Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird: "Many people are, Scout, when you finally see them."

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus' final line is important for several reasons. On the surface, he is reinforcing Scout's statement that Stoner's Boy (one of the characters in the story that Atticus has been reading to her) was a good guy, in spite of some of the other characters who thought he was

"... messin' up their clubhouse an' throwin' ink all over it, an'..."

Like Boo Radley, no one knew what Stoner's Boy looked like, and Stoner's Boy had never been caught committing any of the things of which he was accused. Harper Lee deliberately creates this parallel between the two characters, and Atticus' final advice,

"Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them"

seems to show his adult understanding of the comparison. The sleepy Scout is apparently referring to Stoner's Boy, but Atticus's answer--coming after a long night in which his children were nearly killed--probably has Boo in mind. Atticus' answer also refers to his earlier advice to Scout about tolerance: that

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question