In To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Atticus trust Jem and Scout so much?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Atticus trusts Jem and Scout so much because it is in his nature to trust people until he has a reason not to do so. He judges people not by whether they are children or adults, rich or poor, black or white, but by their characters and actions. Atticus also recognizes that the best way to build trust is to extend trust. When people feel trusted and valued, they tend to become more trustworthy and repay the respect.

While Atticus understands that his children are not always completely upfront with him about their Boo Radley adventures, he also knows that if he asks them pointedly to tell the entire truth about any topic, they will do so. He is a wise enough parent, however, to understand that children will be children and to allow them to have their space.

Rather than hovering over and distrusting his children, Atticus has built a relationship with each of them. They know they are respected and trusted, and they respond in kind.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Atticus trusts Jem and Scout so much not because of who they are, but because of who he is.  He trusts them so much because that is his way of making them into adults, his way of raising them to be good people.

Atticus, like any parent, wants his kids to grow up to have good values and be good people.  Some parents think that the way to do this is to keep strict control over their children, but that is not who Atticus is.  He wants his children to think and he wants them to do what is right because it is right (like he does) not because they have to.

Atticus feels that the best way to do this, the best way to make them into adults, is to treat them like adults.  Because of this, he treats them as if he trusts them even though he knows they will make mistakes from time to time.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial