A second lesson that Atticus teaches his kids is that you need to step into someone else’s shoes and skin and walk around in it if there is a difference of opinion. The lesson: “…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 (30)”. If you don’t see eye-to-eye with a person, look at it from their point of view. Don’t automatically dismiss it as being stubbornness, pretend that you’re them, and try to figure out the compelling question of why do they do what they do? “… Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take. He had out take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there (218)”. Atticus, although insulted, still put himself into Bob Ewell’s shoes. He made himself see that he was suffering for the greater good. He wanted himself to get the beatings instead of all of Bob Ewell’s children. It wouldn’t be the first thought on my head, or even the second thought. Atticus is a special kind of man that would rather get spit in the face, than have rage taken out on others. “If you had been on that jury, son, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a free man. So far nothing in your life has interfered with your reasoning process. Those are twelve reasonable men in everyday life, Tom’s jury, but you saw something come between them and reason. You saw the same thing that night in front of the jail. When that crew went away, they didn’t go as reasonable me, they went because we were there. There’s something in our would that makes men lose their heads- they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life (220)”. Atticus obviously thinks that the verdict was wrong, but also pretends that he is on that jury. This book takes place during a time when the white man’s word ALWAYS won over a black man’s word. The way that they were raised would also have an influence on how they had voted. If they had been raised like Jem and Scout had, then they probably all would have voted differently, but they weren’t. Most of them probably were raised thinking that all blacks were tying, raping, no good pieces of trash instead of human beings. So therefore, even though Atticus didn’t agree with what the verdict was, he made himself imagine that he was all of them. Atticus didn’t agree with the verdict, and neither did his children. Putting Tom away into a prison was just like killing him, just like killing a mockingbird.
A third life changing lesson that was taught to the kids was why it was wrong to kill Tom Robinson and why it was a good idea to leave Boo out of the lime light. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird (90)”. By killing Tom, they had killed a mockingbird. Tom was innocent, and everyone knew it in their heart of hearts. All Tom did was be nice to Mayella, and what he got was 17 shots in the back. He felt sorry for her, and always was willing to help her. By helping her, he was also accused of rape and beating. Another mockingbird in the book was Boo Radley. He hardly ever came out of the house, but did all that he could to help. When Miss. Maudie’s house was burning down, Boo placed a warm blanket over Scout’s shoulders so that she wouldn’t freeze to death. He gave Jem and Scout gifts, toys and things, but when he saved them, he also gave them their lives. There were many rumors circulating around Boo, but he was just an innocent guy trying to live his life. “Yeah, an’ they all thought it was Stoner’s Boy messin’ up their clubhouse an’ throwin’ ink all over it an’… An’ they chased him ‘n’ never could catch him ‘cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an’ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things…” “Most people are, Scout, when you finally se them (281)”. That quote perfectly describes Boo. Everyone thought that he had done horrible and unspeakable things, but really he hadn’t. When they finally go to know him, he was really nice, and everyone liked him. With this last lesson, the book ends, with the lesson that once you finally get to know somebody, they can be really nice, all you have to do is step into their skin and shoes and walk around. When you do, you could find a friend.