What does Atticus mean when he says, "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" in To Kill a Mockingbird?

In To Kill a Mockingbird, when Atticus says, "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," he means that Scout can develop empathy, respect, and understanding for others by considering situations from their perspectives.

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This is one of the most famous and most quoted lines in To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Atticus speaks these famous words to Scout after her first day of school. Scout has a terrible first day—she starts off "on the wrong foot in every way" with her teacher and ends up being publicly punished in front of her entire class. Scout finds this incredibly unjust, as she feels she did nothing wrong.

Scout clearly wants her father to join her in condemning Miss Caroline, who Scout feels treated her terribly for no reason at all. Instead, Atticus tells Scout to consider things from Miss Caroline's perspective.

This quote introduces the values Atticus espouses throughout the rest of the novel. Atticus is a firm believer in the Golden Rule. Whether it be toward Boo Radley, or Tom Robinson, or even Mayella Ewell, Atticus teaches his children to treat others the way they wish to be treated. Atticus urges Scout and Jem to try to view the world from others' points of view, just as he tells Scout to...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 888 words.)

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