What does Scout wish was different about Atticus?

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shauger eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout wishes Atticus was more like the fathers of her classmates. She sees him as old (nearly 50) and he doesn't seem to do anything - just works in an office. Because of his age, he won't play tackle football with Jem. He won't teach them to shoot an air rifle. Even though Miss Maudie tries to get Scout to see her father differently, it is not until the incident with the mad dog that Atticus seems to have any discernible talent in Scout's eyes. At that point, she wants to go tell everyone at school how her dad is a crack shot. Jem, however, tells her not to because Atticus is a gentlemen.

alexb2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Early on in the novel, Scout and Jem wish that Atticus was a more traditional Southern man.

revolution | Student

He wishes that Atticus should be more active like other parents.

Although he was never tired in playing keep-away, but when Jem wanted to tackle Atticus, he replied that he was too old for that. Not only that, he doesn't do anything. He worked in an office, not in a drugstore. Atticus did not drive a dump-truck for the county, he was not the sheriff, he did not farm, work in a garage, or do anything that could possibly arouse the any admiration from people, worthy of praise.

Also, he never went hunting, never play poker or fish or drink beer or smoke, not like what other dads do, he would only sit by himself and read. It was supported by the evidence from the passage when they wanted to talk about their father, saying:

He was much older than the parents of our school contemporaries, and there was nothing Jem or I could say about him when our classmates said, “My father—”

The children think that his father is weak and not physically fit to do anything at all. They think their father as a disgrace compared to other fathers.

It is  the air rifle shooting with the mad dog that change their whole impression and view of their father. They now look up to him as a courageous and brave-hearted man. He was also a talented man with guns as he can shoot a dog with precise accuracy and precision.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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