What trick does Atticus teach Scout about getting along with people?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Following Scout's rough first day of school, Atticus teaches her a lesson on perspective that helps her get along with people better. In Chapter 3, Scout tells Atticus that she did not get along with Miss Caroline and had a terrible day at school. Atticus then tells Scout that he knows a "simple trick" that will help her get along with people better. He tells his daughter that she will never understand people until she considers things from their point of view. Atticus encourages Scout to climb into other people's skin and walk around in it. He is essentially teaching Scout a lesson in perspective. If Scout learns to perceive situations from other people's point of view, she will be more tolerant and sympathetic to their needs. Her increased perspective will help her get along with people better. 

troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In order to get Scout to understand people a little better, he tells her his rule.  It will help her to not only understand others, but to see their point of view as well.

In chapter 3 Atticus tells Scout,

"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 from his point of view--until you climb in his skin and walk around in it."

She has to step into Miss Caroline's shoes to really understand that she is an outsider and doesn't understand how "things work" in Maycomb.  Another person she'll understand is Bob Ewell and why his children get away with no education while she and Jem have to go every day.  Eventually, she will understand Boo Radley.

zumba96 | Student

The main thing Atticus teaches Scout is that you will never understand someone unless you are in their shoes and this can really affect how you view others but also how you can communicate with them. Scout doesn't understand how people like Bob Ewell can get away with things like this and why Boo Radley shouldn't be made fun of, yet as she grows older and matures she understands the significance of what Atticus told her when she was younger. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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