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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird


by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird Jean Louise Finch (Scout) Quotes

I looked behind me. To the left of the brown door was a long shuttered window. I walked to it, stood in front of it, and turned around. In daylight, I thought, you could see to the post office corner. […]

Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough. (31.25-31)

Talk about talking things too literally: Scout actually stands on the Radley porch and imagines what Boo has seen over the last few years. And what Boo has seen—the life and times of Jem and Scout—has made him feel compassion for them. Are "seeing someone" and "imagining what someone else sees" different? What is it about seeing in particular that sparks compassionate feelings?

When we were small, Jem and I confined our activities to the southern neighborhood, but when I was well into the second grade at school and tormenting Boo Radley became passé, the business section of Maycomb drew us frequently up the street past the real property of Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose. It was impossible to go to town without passing her house unless we wished to walk a mile out of the way. Previous minor encounters with her left me with no desire for more, but Jem said I had to grow up some time. (11.1)

Growing up is great. You get your driver's license, a later curfew, and then you get to go off to college and eat pizza whenever you want. And then you start your first job, and you realize that you can't afford to eat out all the time and you can't skip your job if you're up late watching a Real Housewives marathon. Turn out, growing up means that you have to face unpleasant things instead of avoiding them—and you can't actually do what you want all the time.

I raised up on my elbow, facing Dill's outline. "It's no reason to run off. They don't get around to doin' what they say they're gonna do half the time...." (14.109)

While kids get a bum rap for having short attention spans, it's adults who can't be trusted to follow through from the child perspective. But has Scout shared anything from her own experience that supports this view, or is she just sympathizing with Dill?