© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Quotes

Quote #10

"Read it out loud, please, Atticus. It's real scary."

"No," he said. "You've had enough scaring for a while. This is too-"

"Atticus, I wasn't scared."

He raised his eyebrows, and I protested: "Leastways not till I started telling Mr. Tate about it. Jem wasn't scared. Asked him and he said he wasn't. Besides, nothin's real scary except in books." (31.43-46)

Is Scout telling the truth about not being scared, or is this a white lie for Atticus's benefit, like Mr. Raymond's "drinking"? Scout suggests that telling the story of scary events is more fear-inducing than actually living through them—which fits with her not getting upset about the lynch mob until after she was safe at home in bed and started thinking about what happened. But Atticus himself was scared in the present moment that night. Maybe this is another difference between adults and children, or maybe it's just a quirk of the way Scout herself sees the world. (If you ask us, both are scary. We'll just be over here hiding under the blankets.)

Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top