What is significant about Atticus's saying "Call Dr. Reynolds!" in To Kill a Mockingbird?  What is significant about Atticus's first order in Chapter 28 after the attack on his children: "Call...

What is significant about Atticus's saying "Call Dr. Reynolds!" in To Kill a Mockingbird

What is significant about Atticus's first order in Chapter 28 after the attack on his children: "Call Dr. Reynolds"? (Think of how the book is written, not the events of the plot.)

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 28 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus does not ask Boo Radley what he is doing with Jem in his arms, he does not inquire who has hurt his boy, he does not ask what happened; he shouts, "Call Dr. Reynolds!" then he asks, "Where's Scout?" Again, Atticus proves himself first and foremost a father.

In Chapter 3, after the first day of school for the children, Atticus calls to Scout to read the evening paper with him; however, Scout has had too stressful a day to resume routine. Instead, she asks Atticus if she could not go to school anymore. Her father counsels her that if she will see things from the other person's perspective, she will "get along better with all kinds of folks."

"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.

When Jem and Scout are attacked, Atticus Finch thinks first of his children; then, he worries about other matters after he comes out of their "skins." For, he understands quickly that Jem has been injured and Scout and he have been terrorized. This is what is paramount. When he emerges from Jem's room after Aunt Alexandra has called Dr. Reynolds, Atticus phones the sheriff. His words clearly indicate his sense of parenthood:

"...Someone's been after my children. Jem's hurt. Between her and the schoolhouse. I can't leave my boy...."

When he hangs up the phone, Atticus Finch, loving father, returns to Jem's room.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 28, Scout returns home after following Boo Radley, who carries Jem, into her house. The first words out of Atticus's mouth that Scout hears are "Call Dr. Reynolds!" (Lee, 161). Atticus then immediately inquires about his daughter by asking Alexandra, "Where's Scout?" (Lee, 161).  Atticus's command to call Dr. Reynolds demonstrates his understanding of the situation as well as his ability to think clearly during an alarming situation. Atticus also realizes that he cannot help his son at that moment and asks for a professional to aid Jem's recovery. Jem's well-being is Atticus's utmost concern at the moment, and Dr. Reynolds is probably the only citizen in Maycomb who can help Jem. Atticus then inquires about Scout, which reveals his concern about her well-being. Atticus's reaction during this confusing, alarming situation demonstrates his insight and love for his children. Atticus immediately attempts to meet Jem's needs by calling for Dr. Reynolds, then inquires about Scout's well-being in his next statement. Atticus is a loving, protective father who demonstrates his parental instincts during this climactic scene. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question