To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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When does Atticus say wise words to Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird? What are some quotes?

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Dorothea Tolbert eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Whenever Scout goes to her father with a problem, he gives her wise advice.  He is consistent in his desire to instill a spirit of empathy and kindness toward others in his daughter.  Scout sometimes gets angry and wants to fight other children.  Atticus always advises her against this.

When Scout is mad at Miss Caroline because she had gotten in trouble at school for defending Walter Cunningham, Atticus encourages empathy.  He does not want his daughter to be angry with her new teacher.  He tells Scout that she should look at the situation from Miss Caroline's perspective:

Atticus said I had learned many things today, and Miss Caroline had learned several things herself.  She had learned not to hand something to a Cunningham, for one thing, but if Walter and I had put ourselves in her shoes we'd have seen it was an honest mistake on her part (To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 3).

Later, Scout expresses her anger toward students at school who criticize her father.  They insult Atticus because he is defending Tom Robinson, who is a black man.  Scout tries fighting them.  Atticus tells her that he does not want her to fight, and instead gives her advice:

No matter what anybody says to you, don't you let 'em get your goat.  Try fighting with your head for a change… it's a good one, even if it does resist learning" (Chapter 9).



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