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To Kill A Mockingbird 6 Essay, Research Paper

To Walk in Another Man s Shoes

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view (30). Atticus Finch, a popular lawyer, and the father of the main character in Harper Lee s To Kill a Mockingbird, teaches this lesson to his children. This idea does not just apply to Maycomb County in the 1930s, but to everyone everywhere. This story takes place in Maycomb, Alabama during the great depression. Most whites are very prejudiced and don t care to hear a Negro s opinions or thoughts on anything. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee explains that a person has to try to see a situation from the other person s point of view before they make a judgement.

Scout begins to realize that people s ignorance isn t always their fault. Her teacher, Miss Caroline, is new in Maycomb, and doesn t know about the families living there. Scout was very upset that she got scolded for explaining the caste system to the teacher, but then she began to understand. …but if Walter and I had put ourselves in her shoes we d have seen it was an honest mistake on her part. We could not expect her to learn all of Maycomb s ways in one day, and we could not hold her responsible when she knew no better. (30). A lot of the time, people don t stop to understand a person, but are quick to make judgements. All people need to do is to try to understand why the person said what they did, try to see where he or she is coming from. Only then can mankind know what to do in any predicament.

Even an adult can learn something new every now and then if they think as someone else. Scout s uncle, Jack Finch, scolded Scout for fighting with her cousin, Francis. However, Jack didn t hear why Scout attacked Francis. …in the first place you never stopped to gimme a chance to tell you my side of it… (86). Scout says this to her uncle and explains to him that he should have listened to both sides of the story, before yelling at Scout for fighting. There is always a reason why someone does something, even fighting. Scout got upset at her cousin because he called her father something that she didn t like. If people try to understand both sides of something, then a fair solution can be found.

Sometimes people have to get to know a person to really understand them, not just try to come to a conclusion by listening to what others say about this person. For three years, Scout has wanted to meet Arthur Boo Radley, a neighbor that no one has seen for a long time. Only when she did meet him did she finally understand his life. 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. (279). Scout said this after she walked Arthur home the night that he saved her and her brother Jem s life. She understood that he was not a people-person, which is the main reason why he stayed inside all the time. Scout also understood that he had tried to make friends with her and Jem many times before, but they hadn t made the effort back. Finally realizing this made Scout sad.

The most important idea illustrated by Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird, is that one has to try to see a situation from the other person s point of view, to avoid making some unfair judgements. A person may be ignorant, but that is not always their fault. They just may not have been around long enough to know everything. One should always hear both sides of a situation, in order to find a fair solution. A lot of the time, people don t stop to understand a person, but are quick to make stereotypical judgements about them. To really understand a person, one must make the effort to be that person; make an effort to stand in his shoes and walk around in them.


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