You need to have read thru chapter three of To Kill a Mockingbird to respond to this topic.  If you have NOT read thru chapter three, please do NOT read further (as it will spoil/give away information you haven't read yet).

  • When talking with Scout towards the end of chapter three, Atticus tells her, "If you can learn a simple trick, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks.  You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" (Lee 39).  
  • Discuss and explore the meaning of this advice.  Why do so many people consider this a great piece of advice?  How might it apply to us today?  How could we use it in our everyday lives?  How is it like other texts we have read this past year?  (You do not need to answer all the questions--just explore Atticus' advice to his daughter.)

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I think this is a great piece of advice because it tells you not to judge others when you do not know them. I believe it relates to another piece of advice which is don't judge a book by its cover. You cant really understand a book before you read it just like a person. So Atticus is saying to Scout to investigate/get to know somebody before criticizing them or gaining an opinion. After this Atticus starts talking about the Ewells and says "They were people but they lived like animals"(Atticus,30). Atticus says to Scout not to judge people however, Atticus talks about the Ewells in a negative way even though he is not close with them. Even though people know the piece of advice that he told scout it does not mean they will use it in their daily lives just like Atticus. I believe that It depends on the person, even though it may be a good piece of advice there wouldn't really be any attention drawn to it by people,therefore creating no change/difference.  

    You make an excellent point there, The Best.  It does seem a little hypocritical of Atticus to tell people to be more empathetic and try to "[understand] things from [their] point of view" and then go about saying seemingly derogatory criticisms about the Ewells (Lee 39).  But I actually don't think Atticus is being hypocritical.  I actually think he's just calling things like he sees them without any judgement.  The Ewells are a "dirty" bunch--just look at the language that Burris uses when he calls his teacher a "sl**" when she spies a cootie in his hair (Lee 35).  But later on after Atticus reveals to Scout that Mr. Ewell drinks and traps out of season--which is against the law--but if the town did something about his, it seems his children would pay the price--they are already "crying from hunger pains" (Lee 41).  Atticus seems to accept that Bob Ewell is a "bad dude", but he really doesn't judge him in any way.  Atticus is just honest.

    Now what I find myself asking is: is this ok?  I am certainly "down" with the idea of not judging/labeling too harshly, but what if more people were like the Ewells?  Do we everyone the same kind of slack the Ewells are allowed?  This idea scares me a little.  If there are only a couple families like the Ewells, I think most people could abide that/let it go--but if everyone were allowed to be however they wanted to be--like the Ewells--that would create great trouble for society I feel.

I think the Ewells are one of a kind people and this wont happen to anyone else. However Teacher Brother Atticus is not friends with them so he is just basing his opinion off others. I feel that if there were more people like the Ewells people would draw attention to it and stop what they do wrong like the illegal hunting. But since these kinds of people are so rare and are in a poor area attention is not really drawn.

The best, Atticus is making his opinion based on the lack of care he sees from their father (Bob). the only reason the Ewells are in the poor condition they are in is because of their father.

In my opinion, I disagree with the fact that Mr. Ewell and the other Ewells should be left to continue with their ways. In the book, Atticus tells his daughter that "the Ewells had been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations" (Lee 30). This shows that the kids have been influenced by their parents and having been going about their life like this even though the whole town doesn't approve. Atticus also tells Scout that "It's against the law, all right...but when a man spends his relief checks on green whiskey his children have a way of crying from hunger pains" (Lee 31). Of course it's wrong and unfair that his children have to pay the price for his actions because they depend on him - but if he continues like this, his kids will learn from him and continue for generations. Laws are executed for the good of the people so society would be chaotic if even more people were allowed to bend the rules and do things however they wanted.

Yes I definitely agree that it has been passed down from past generations. Also this relates to segregation and how that was passed down from generation to generation. And the problem was created bigger because parents talked about groups of people in a negative way In front of there children which continues these ideals forever.

I agree with with The Best Noureddine that the characters in the book "To Kill A Mockingbird" are influenced by their parents, but I don't think it's just the parents that influence them, its the people they come in contact with in their daily lives that influence their actions. For example Harper Lee writes " Little Chuck Little was another member of the population who didn't know where his next meal was coming from, but he was a born gentlemen" (Lee 34), but he doesn't act like a gentlemen at all when Miss Caroline sends him home to take a bathe.

Cake Aljibory, I think you understood wrong. Miss Caroline told Burris to go take a bath. But Little Chuck Little stayed a gentlemen throughout the whole thing.

I agree with you though when you said that the characters from To Kill A Mockingbird aren't just influenced by their parents, they are also influenced by their surroundings. in this type of community everyone relies on each other maybe without realizing. They are very judgmental of each other but ones socio-economical status affects another's. Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, states "Atticus said professional people were poor because the farmers were poor." (Lee27). Everyone has an affect on each other in that kind of community. Its a small community where ones actions can affect many people. This reminds me of when we read that Black Lives Matter text and it said something along the lines of if blacks are free every minority is free. That's why you must realize that you  are not only responsible for you but for everyone else too.

Personally I agree with you that the Ewells shouldn't continue with their ways, but like you stated, they have been doing it for three generations, three generations of being influenced by their family members. Its not easy to break out of habits that three generations of the family have been doing. 

        And this when one tends to build biases, but as you can you can see, they come from somewhere. It might not be true or ideal for, in this case, the Ewells family and heritage. But even if they were to change their ways, or become more acceptable by the society that lives among them, those past ideas, and conflicts will still haunt them;and this what happens today, in our community. We change and adapt to our world, and the people on the face of it, but still are tormented by the past. For example, Liam O'Flaherty -a famous Irish novelist around the late eighteen hundreds- wrote "[As] a poor weak human being like themselves, a human soul, weak and helpless in suffering, shivering in the toils of the eternal struggle of the human soul with pain" (O'Flaherty). With this conflicts coming back from generations, used as a weapon against one, can cause extreme pain, and could create a larger predicament. And we ask ourselves, are we those people? My answer...yes we are.        

I tend to agree with you--if something does not change for Brother Ewell, his children will likely turn out just like him (as he is their primary role model, as sad as that is).  Since I really don't see someone like him changing without help, I wonder what we can do to help someone like him.  Just holding him accountable (arresting him for breaking the law) isn't good enough--it won't teach him, or his children, anything; in fact, this may only create bitterness amongst the Ewells, regular people, and the law.  Instead, I wonder if there are any programs where we--people like you and me--could step "into his skin" to experience life as he sees it.  This may give us a better understanding of the Ewells and how we might be able to help them.  In fact, I'm going to look up programs like this right now :)

Brother Teacher, it seems as if brother Ewell is in some sort of misery since drinking a lot is commonly associated with depression. maybe the endless drinking and lack of care for his children is present because whatever happened to his wife, somebody in Scouts class did say that Burris,"Ain't got no mother" (Lee 26). the book says exactly what happened to the mother but it is possible that she has something to do with the poor condition of the family. the mother is often thought to be the foundation of a family and it appears that the foundation of the Ewell family isn't present and thus the family is torn apart. this is the only explanation i could think of as to why the Ewells are in this poor condition where they are almost lost in this world and don't even see a purpose in going to school. I almost feel bad for them because i couldn't see myself in a better situation if my parent were to disappear from my life, especially my mother.

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