Atticus, the Teacher
Would you want to be the man who sticks up for the right thing, knowing that it could cause danger to your family? Atticus is sticking up for the right thing; he is standing up for blacks rights, and he is risking his family’s safety. This is what Atticus does in the book To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Atticus teaches his children to step into other people’s skin before judging them, and to treat blacks fairly and equally.
One of Atticus’ important lessons that he teaches his children, is to walk around in people’s skin before judging them. Atticus talks with Scout about the Cunningham’s lifestyle and Atticus tells her, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view” Scout asks, “Sir?” Atticus then replies, “–until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” (Lee 30). He is trying to say that you shouldn’t judge people of their clothing or their living style until you step into their skin. Stepping into their skin means; looking at life through their perspective on things. This is important because it shows Scout and Jem the different way people live and to not judge them for how they choose to live. Another time when Atticus’s lesson is brought into the book is at the end. Scout understands her father later in the book when she walks Arthur Radley home and is on his front porch seeing the world through his eyes and realizes she just stepped into Arthur Radley’s skin. She narrates and says, “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’s porch was enough” (279). Scout is finally understanding that what her father has been saying all along about you can get to know a person better by steeping in their shoes and walking around in them. She realizes she stepped into Arthur’s shoes and saw what he saw, and now knows a little more about Arthur. These two pieces of evidence prove and show, why Atticus’ lesson that he taught the kids to step into their shoes and walk around in them is one of the most important.
One of the other important lessons he teaches his children is to treat all people fairly including blacks. In the case of the Ewell’s vs. Tom Robinson no one else in the county of Maycomb will take the case except for Atticus. When Atticus is talking to his daughter about the case that he knows they will lose, he says, “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us to not try to win. “(75-76). He basically tells his daughter, Scout, that even though blacks have been treated poorly and unfairly for over 100 years, it is not time for us to give up. The main importance here is that even though the blacks have been discriminated against and treated poorly, doesn’t mean that we should just stop fighting for their rights. It’s for us to keep fighting. Another time when Atticus tells his children about how to respect blacks is when Scout asks Atticus if he defends ‘nigger’? Atticus tells her, “Don’t say ‘nigger,’ Scout. That’s common.” (). Atticus is trying to say the word is commonly known for blacks and it is a shameful way to call them that. The importance of this quote is that Atticus is telling and teaching his son that just because other people may say it; it doesn’t mean you should say it. Both of these points show the importance of equality and fairness.
These two main points about what Atticus teaches his children and Maycomb County are the two most important lessons because it deals with the equality and fairness of blacks, and the lifestyle of different people. Atticus was a very intellectually smart man whose two most important lessons of the book proved to be both threatening to his family and shows that he knows when to stand up for the right thing.