What are some important quotes that come from Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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Atticus Finch is one of the most memorable characters in literature.  The way he lives his life, and the lessons he teaches, are so important we never forget them.

The first important thing that Atticus says is to Scout, when she is having trouble understanding why her teacher is mean to her.  He teaches Scout a “simple trick” for getting along better with people.

" 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." (ch 2)

Atticus is talking about empathy.  Empathy is understanding other people, and where they come from.  We can never really understand a person until we try to look at things from that person’s perspective.

Another important pearl of wisdom from Atticus is about courage.

I wanted you to see what real courage is… It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. (ch 11)

Atticus tells Jem and Scout that Mrs. Dubose is a model of courage because she died on her own terms, not addicted to morphine.  She was able to be strong enough and brave enough to wean herself off the drug.  Atticus wants his children to learn that you have to be strong mentally as well as physically.

When Atticus is presenting his case to the jury, he says some wise things in closing arguments.  He tells the jury that there is no difference between a negro and a white man, and the assumptions about Tom Robinson are wrong.

Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury. A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up. (ch 20)

Atticus makes a strong speech to the jury about all men being created equal, and the duty of them men on the jury to live up to those words.  In a way, they do.  They deliberate longer than anyone thought they would have before finding Tom Robinson guilty. 

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hawesky101's profile pic

hawesky101 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

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"One should think about whats its like to walk around in another's shoes before judging or acting upon."

“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.” (This quote is on page 30 by the way).

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see through it no matter what.”

"As you grow older you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it— whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, of how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash."

 

 

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