To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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What are some quotes from Atticus that show compassion in To Kill a Mockingbird

One quote that is central to Atticus's compassionate nature is reflected in the title itself:

Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Atticus is always deeply concerned with understanding the needs and motivations of others.

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In chapter three, Atticus explains to Scout why Bob Ewell is allowed to hunt and trap out of season, which Scout knows is "a capital felony" for citizens under normal circumstances:

“It’s against the law, all right,” said my father, “and it’s certainly bad, but when a man spends his relief checks on green whiskey his children have a way of crying from hunger pains. I don’t know of any landowner around here who begrudges those children any game their father can hit.”

Atticus is compassionate to the plight of the Ewell children, even though they are contemptuous at school and elsewhere, because their father makes no effort to guide them well.

The title of the book actually evolves from a compassionate quote Atticus provides about the treatment of innocent creatures like mockingbirds:

Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to...

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