What did the children learn about Atticus as a result of their sighting of Tim Johnson in To Kill a Mockingbird? 

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The children learned thought Atticus is a very good shot, and not as old and useless as they thought.

When the children spy Tim Johnson acting strangely, the town snaps into action.  Heck Tate and Atticus are called to the scene, and they try to head the rabid dog off before it bites someone.  A rabid dog is very dangerous.

The children are very surprised when they see Heck Tate had the gun to Atticus.  They think of him as old and worthless because he doesn’t play football like other dads.

"Take him, Mr. Finch." Mr. Tate handed the rifle to Atticus; Jem and I nearly fainted.

"Don't waste time, Heck," said Atticus. "Go on."

"Mr. Finch, this is a one-shot job." (ch 10)

Heck Tate does not feel comfortable shooting the dog, because if he misses the dog will have reached the danger zone.  He hands the gun to Atticus, and Atticus hits the dog with one shot.  The children are impressed and surprised.  They had no idea their dad was capable of this.

Atticus’s shooting the dog and saving the town is highly symbolic.  When Maycomb is in trouble, it turns to Atticus Finch.  Just as he shoots Tim Johnson, Atticus defends Tom Robinson to save the town from itself.


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