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To Kill A Mockingbird: How Did Atticus Influence Scout

By pbrocks01 Jan 09, 2013 1287 Words
Ifeoma Aneke
January 7,2012

To Kill A Mockingbird
How Did Atticus Influence Scout

In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, I believe that Atticus had a great influence on Scout. Atticus influences Scout by him treating all people with respect and equality and he looked at the positive side of people and events. Atticus also taught her about treating all people equal no matter who they are. Atticus influenced Scout by telling her to treat nature with respect. Atticus teaches them great life lessons that will help them later on even though they don’t know that yet. Atticus has given a great amount of influence to Scout in the novel. Atticus influenced Scout by treating all people with respect and equality and he looked at the positive side of people and events. For example, in chapter 9, Atticus had to defend Tom Robinson (a negro who got accused of beating and raping Mayella Ewell) and he was explaining to Scout why he is doing it. Chapter 9 pgs. 77-78: [Scout] "If you shouldn’t be defendin‘ him, then why are you doin’ it?". [Atticus] "For a number of reasons...The main one is, if I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again.". [Scout] "You mean if you didn’t defend that man, Jem and me wouldn’t have to mind you any more?....Why?". [Atticus] "Because I could never ask you to mind me again. Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one’s mine, I guess. You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down. 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.". This example proves that Atticus was looking at the positive side of defending a negro in court and giving him as much information as he needs to defend him and to try to make Tom Robinson innocent. Atticus also taught her about treating all people equal no matter who they are. For example, in chapter 18, Atticus was cross examining Mayella Ewell (the person who was accused that Tom Robinson beat and raped her), Atticus was calling her Miss or ma’am. For some reason she didn’t liked how she was being called that and thought that Atticus was insulting her. The truth was that she was never treated with kindness and respect that her father never gave since he was always so drunk and beating her whenever she was there. In the closing statement, Atticus was talking about how Tom Robinson was innocent and was talking about how Mayella lived a poor and cruel life. Chapter 18: “She is the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance. But, my pity does not extend so far as to her putting a man’s life at stake, which she has done in an effort to get rid of her own guilt. Now I say “guilt,” gentlemen, because it was guilt that motivated her. She’s committed no crime. She has merely broken a rigid and time-honoured code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with.” But he said an interesting thing about Mayella and black men. Chapter 18 : “Now what did she do? She tempted a negro. She was white and she tempted a negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: She kissed a black man. Not an old uncle, but a strong, young negro man. No code mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards.” Atticus is basically telling Scout that you need to respect people equally even though they treat you wrong sometimes, you’re still doing a good thing that all people should do. Atticus influenced Scout by telling her to treat nature with respect. Atticus tells his children that it's a sin to kill a mocking bird. For example, in chapter 10, when the children got BB guns, he taught them to respect nature and not to kill the mockingbird. Chapter 10 pgs. 92-93: [Scout, as narrator, repeats what she heard Atticus say to Jem] "Atticus said to Jem one day, 'I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’” Atticus also shoots a mad dog, the only time he's pulled out his rifle that she's ever seen. Chapter 10 : [Scout as narrator] "In front of the Radley gate, Tim Johnson had made up what was left of his mind. He had finally turned himself around, to pursue his original course up our street. He made two steps forward, then stopped and raised his head. We saw his body go rigid.". [Scout as narrator after Sheriff Tate and Atticus have arrived on the scene] "With movements so swift they seemed simultaneous, Atticus’s hand yanked a balltipped lever as he brought the gun to his shoulder. The rifle cracked. Tim Johnson leaped, flopped over and crumpled on the sidewalk in a brown-and-white heap. He didn’t know what hit him.". [Atticus to Jem after Atticus has killed the dog with one shot] "...Come here...Don’t you go near that dog, you understand? Don’t go near him, he’s just as dangerous dead as alive." This taught Scout that you should respect nature unless your own protection is on the line. Even if it’s a rabid dog and you try to help it, don’t get near it and call for help. If nature tries to hurt you, you should defend yourself from any animal that is diseased or crazy or rabid or whatever. So be nice to nature if nature is nice to you. The conclusion to this question is that Atticus influenced Scout in multiple ways. He taught Scout on how to respect a person or persons no matter who they are or what race they are or what religion they are whatever. The main point was to do what is right and justice even though society says otherwise about your belief. Atticus also taught Scout how to everyone should be treated equally no matter what person he or she is. That person could be insulting you, or the person could be a criminal and you still have to treat the person with respect because you don’t know if the person you meet now can help you in the mere future with something great and that you are having trouble with it. Like what they usually say, what goes around, come around or treat others how you want to be treated. The last away how Atticus influenced Scout was that you should be kind and respect nature. Nature can help you with some things and supply you with what you need or nature can be harmless to you and do nothing at all to you. But if nature tries to hurt you, you can still defend yourself from it or call for help if you need it. Basically all I’m saying that Atticus teaches them great life lessons that will help them later on even though they don’t know that yet. Atticus has given a great amount of influence to Scout in this novel, To Kill A Mockingbird.

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