When does Atticus say, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Near the end of Chapter 3 in To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus advises his disgruntled little daughter on how to better understand and get along with people.

Having lived in a small neighborhood populated by older adults, Scout has spent her time playing with her brother Jem and their friend Dill Harris. Because some people come to the Finches' house on legal matters, such as Walter Cunningham's father, and through interactions with others at church services and social functions, Scout is familiar with members of the community.

It is because of her frequent association with adults, such as the kind and caring Miss Maudie, and Atticus's inclusion of Scout in his evening activity of reading the newspaper that Scout does not understand that she is not the equal of adults. Therefore, when she returns home from her first day at school, Scout is rather puzzled by having been scolded and punished when she was merely trying to help the new teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher. She has no idea that Miss Caroline may have considered her actions as impudent and disrespectful.

Somewhat bemused by Scout's retelling of her "misfortunes" at school, Atticus rises from the swing and walks to the end of the porch. After "completing his examination of the wisteria vine," he strolls back to Scout, telling her how important it is to consider things from the other person's point of view if she is going to understand that person. That is, she must try to "climb into his/her skin and walk around in it" (Ch.3).

From this fatherly lesson, Scout realizes that Miss Caroline has made honest mistakes with regards to Walter Cunningham and the other children. Suddenly, it occurs to Scout that she has undermined Miss Caroline's importance and authority by already knowing how to read and by informing her about other students. She has now figuratively "climbed into Miss Caroline's skin" and understands her teacher better.

ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter three, Scout has had a bad day at school.  She comes home in a bad mood about what had happend with her teacher and asks Atticus if she can stay at home and not return to school.  In my edition it is on page 36.  Atticus says,

"First of all," he said, "if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks.  You never really understand a person until you consider things form his point of view-"


"-Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

Julie Feng eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It depends on the copy and edition of the book, and there are so many of them out there because Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird is such a popular and widely read book. Therefore, giving the page number of the quote is generally pretty useless. 

Atticus Finch tells his young daughter Scout: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view." 

liciagj123 | Student

Inthe 5oth anniversary Edition, it'sat the end of page 39.

speedofit | Student

near the tope of page 33.

So hard to find this quote anyway.

user8304183 | Student

Atticus really says this to Scout to tell him how to understand people better when she grows up and when she is trying to understand Jem better. Its on page 30 in my school edition book.

zumba96 | Student

After Scout's first day at school, she did not have the best experience and she does not want to go back to school. However, Atticus tells her how she won't understand anyone unless it is their point of view. This could also be expanded to the cruelty that the African Americans were subjected to. No one truly knew their plight except them, and they had to deal with the cruel society. 

maria-vivanco | Student

Atticus says this quote after scouts first day of school. She has been having a rough day and was complaining about the teacher. Atticus said this to show Scout that she just see things from another point of view in order to understand themselves actions.

cvfalcons23 | Student

Page 30 in the second and third paragraphs.

surahh | Student

I have a school copy which im guessing you have since youre in 9th grade too. Its on page 30 in my book.




ps. i really hated this book.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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