To Kill a Mockingblog

A discussion forum for students studying To Kill a Mockingbird

In chapter three, Atticus tells Scout that “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.” Explain the meaning of this quote and how it relates to Scout’s experiences in the novel. Also, explain how it could relate to your life.

October 28, 2009 by pricey11 · 87 Comments · Uncategorized

87 Comments so far ↓

  • tallstuff

    I think the meaning of this is that don’t think you no how someone feels or how there lives are until you find out think about that person. I think it also means that you cannot tell people how they are feeling, for example one of my friends are sad because something happened at home you cant say “oh, et over it, it is not that bad” because you don’t know how bad it really was.
    It relates to Scout because Scout, Jem, and dill don’t know how Boo Radley feels about going out side. They also don’t know what went on in his life. It relates to me because, one of my friends always came to school all sad and mad. I would just tell her to forget about it, but really I did not know how she was feeling. So I should of talked to her abut it. I really did no now how hard it was to forget about it.:)

  • user5

    i agree with with this statement as well . because you sould never judge a book by its cover because you dont know what they have been trough in there life.

    scout sould not judge walter cunningham becauae he has not been taught the way ahe has been but he is still a person with feelings

  • tammerofdrag

    What i think this qoute means is that u will never really understand a person unless u walk in there shoes. Atticis also means dont judge a perso by its cover u got to get to now them before u can judge them because you might think they are a meqan person but if you get to know them they could be a really nice person.Atticis is a very wise person and the kids should be more respecful of him.

  • superkid3

    The quote Atticus tells Scout that “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.” means that Atticus is trying to teach scout that you have to get to know who someone is before you say something about them.

    I think it relates to scout when she is being picked on by Ceicil Jacobs.

  • colmac26

    Guest #25

    The meaning of “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.” I think it means that you need to not judge some one for what they do in one place or how they act in one place But look at how they are outside of the area or place and see the true diffrence behind them. And you cant understand why they do something they do until you know the reasoning behind it, There for dont jump to conclusion when Some one is doing something and you dont understand why.

    This relates to scout because she Doesnt know why Boo radley does the things he does, Likes hides in his house and doesnt comunicate to the outside world and start jumping to conclsuions like its because hes religious or because hes locked in there. At one point she thinks its because hes crazy, But maybe hes the opposite of all those things, Like caring, nice, lonely and Depressed. But youll never know why people do the things they do until you ask them!! so next time your curios of some one or there behavor then ask them dont judge them!!

  • mississhippie

    When Atticus says this, what he means is: try and picture things from where other people are coming from. You have to understand that different people have different ways of thinking, different up bringings, different feelings, etc. No one is exactly like anyone else, and you can’t see eye to eye unless you put yourself in their position.

    This quote relates to many of Scout’s experiences. One would be when Atticus explains to Scout about why he is trying to defend Tom Robinson. Atticus wants Scout to put herself in his shoes, and imagine how she would feel if everyone in the town was against her, and wouldn’t hear her side of the story.

    In real life, I can relate to this quite easily. For example, a lot of people don’t bother with the operation christmas child because they don’t care about it, but when I put myself in those poor kids shoes I can’t help but feeling a want to help them. I can only imagine how it would feel to not have clean water and not know where my next meal is coming from. Being able to see another person’s point of view not only helps you be sympathetic and understanding; it also reduces the chances of getting upset about something.

  • blackjackrabbit

    Atticus tells Scout that “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”. Atticus tells her that because he is trying to teach her a lesson in life. That lesson is that you should never EVER judge a person. Because you will never actually know what they have been through and what they have encountered and there side of the story. You can’t just “climb into someones skin” to figure out everything. This relates to the book because at the time Scout is saying that Walter Cunningham just gets by on what they have, and that they are happy. But you can naver know if someone is happy on the inside. You would have to “Climb around in his skin and walk around in it” in order to see how they feel inside.

  • pink1234

    That maens you sould never judge a pearson until you get to no them a little more then when you first meat them and then you can say whether you like them or not. It relates to scout because she judges the old guy and she has never really met him and talked to him but she says he looks grose and says that hes the meanist pearson in the world and tries to poison everyone all the time. her life relates to mine in the thing of judging people before i meat them because if i meat someone at school and they are wearing dirty clothes then i think there poor and only have a few pair of clothes and if they dont talk to me when i talk to them or they talk to me mean then i think there really mean.

  • werdna

    The quote, “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,” is a metaphor. It is comparing that you have to literally live like someone to understand what their life is like to someone actually living “in someone’s skin” and walking around, and doing what the do.
    This quote is saying that you need to try to understand another person’s thoughts, actions, and ways of life before you judge how they do something or how the act or feel.
    This quote is something Atticus is trying to teach his kids. He knows it is a good moral and he wants his kids to live by it. It relates to Scout because she is wondering Jem acting weird. When Atticus tells her about this advice she realizes that Jem has done something that was courageous for himself. He went into the Radley place at night.
    Scout takes the advice from Atticus and uses it when she refers to how Jem was acting recently and she isn’t hard on him for being quiet and not himself the following week after he went into the Radley’s back yard.

  • colmac26

    Guest # 9

  • gastrolation

    When Atticus talks to his children and when his children talk to him they make each other think. Atticus treats his children not as children but as maturing adults, He teaches life lessons by treating them this way. When Atticus says “you never really understand a person until you walk around in their skin” ( T.K.M P.g39) He means that you can’t judge some one until you know who they are and where they are coming from. This quote is an example of how Atticus is not like many other inhabitants of Macomb County. Atticus believes that no matter what skin color or back ground you come from you are all equal to one another.

    This quote probably has many meanings but for me it show’s our school and its groups “clicks” with all the people in it and every one sees some one and has a first opinion of them. I’m not from this country when I moved to Canada and first went to school I’m positive many people if not all of them had an opinion of me the first time they seen me. That first time walking in to a class not knowing any of the faces is so scary. When I see some one for the first time I just think about how I felt and that helps me not jump to conclusions about them.

  • smokelessfire

    When Atticus says “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” I think he means that you don’t understand anything from someone else’s point of view you only think of your own.

    This relates to Scout because when Scout and the kids are making stories about Boo Radley they do not take into consideration how he feels. My guess is that this is one of the reasons why Boo stays in his house because he herd so many stories about him so he doesn’t want to get laughed at.

    One example from my life is when my friend moved to town everyone thought he was different just because he was black. I didn’t know how he felt was because when he was at school everyone made fun of him and I did to just to fit in with everyone but one day someone took it to far and my friend wanted to kill himself. I ended up talking him out of it and we have been friends ever since.

  • disturbed101

    I think Atticus’s quote means the same thing as the age old quote “put yourself in their shoes”, which means you should always consider what others are feeling and not always think about yourself. In my opinon I think Scout should feel this way about Boo Radley because all anyone does to him is make up stories and they’re playing a game called “Boo Radley” that is pretty mean to do. In real life it teaches that just because we have lots going right or there is no problem with us there might be others with very serious problems and we shouldn’t be selfish or self centered to others because some already have problems and might not need annything else to worry about. That quote has helped me quite a few times, a while ago I a very selfish person and I still am but now I always consider other peoples problems and Scout in ” To kill a mockingbird” will probaly think the same way I do.

  • colmac26

    Guest #27

    A person doesn’t know how a person feels unless you are that person. Just because someone has the same name, or the same color of skin, doesn’t make them all the same. Everybody is different. If a person is rich, that doesn’t make you any better than someone who has no money. You shouldn’t judge people by the way they dress, they may be the nicest person you have ever met,arich person can be mean or nice and the same for poor people.

    Every person is different in everyway. Notwo people are the same.

  • thatpersonwiththatface

    .In this book I think Atticus is trying to get his kids to learn that you can’t just judge someone on the way they present themselves or are considered in society. Instead he wants them to consider what they go through and how they deal with things in life; hence Atticus saying “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.”

    Scout and Jem live in a society were there are many different statuses of people, or classes. This effects how they deal with the different people, the poor and the less fortunate because of how they see others and adults treat each other.

    The Cunningham’s, Scout decided that since they were poor she shouldn’t associate commonly with them, instead she thought it was ok to mock there state, even though she really thought it wasn’t rude, she thought of it as just how people refer to them.
    But Jem, knowing different, invited him for supper as an apology. That’s when Atticus and Calpurnia had to tell her different.

    It refers to a lot in the story, about the social status, the racism against different colors of skin, boo radley and their neighbor’s misfortune. It’s actually something everyone should really use in life today as well because even know people take things for granted and treat different social classes differently

  • colmac26

    Guest 1
    In the novel “to kill a mockingbird” there are many metaphors and secrets meanings hidden be hide sentences, phrases, paragraphs, and chapters. One of the quotes or phrases that caught my eye was “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”, this quote whish was said by Atticus towards Scout, reminds me of the saying “Come for a walk in my shoes and see what its like”. But what do these quotes or statements mean?

    When it comes down to it, people say that they can never really understand another person, they have nothing in common. Truthfully though you can just by sitting down and talking and thinking what if you had opposite lives,” take a walk in their shoes”, see their hardships and compare feelings. In the novel Atticus is trying to get Scout to see herself in Jems point of view- no older brothers, no mother to depend on, having all these missed up emotions and not knowing what to do with them, especially when you don’t want to break the relationship that you have with your father.

    Outside of the novel people try everyday to understand and help another person. I know I try constantly, and I always try to put myself in their shoes, but I know it is hard. Even though it is extremely hard you have to try, and that’s what I do everyday, try and see the other side of the story and person.

  • roxychickw49

    When I hear this quote I think of” Come take a walk in my shoes, and see what its like”.I think this quote means you never really understand people until you look at life the way they look at it, and think about it the way they think about it.In acutalality you’ll never really understand other people, even if you do look at it like they do.Simply, people are complicated.

    It relates to Scout’s experiences in the novel because so far she hasn’t really thought about other people when she does things, and she really doesn’t understand other people like the Ewell’s , Radley’s or Walter Cunningham.

    This quote could relate to my life because, I usually don’t think before I speak, and therefore I end up hurting people, and hen laughing about it and not taking their feelings into consideration, at all. This is something I have trouble with, consently.

  • seregarn

    that quote relats to her experience in the way that she see’s things in a different way than jem or jack or dill or anyone so he means to look at in a different way

  • chevytrucks

    the quote means you don’t know what other people are feeling until you put your self in their perspective.It relates to scout by her reactions of other peoples comments because her father representing the black guy.It could relate to life by people saying rude comments about another and not even knowing them or never talking to them.

  • jam6

    I think the meaning of this quote is that you never really understand someone’s feelings and they way they are unless you take a walk in their shoes , in other words , you need to think about how someone else would feel before you judge them .
    One of Scouts experiences where Atticus is trying to teach her the meaning of walking in someone else’s skin is when he tells her why he is defending Tom Robinson. He says that she should think about if everyone in the whole town was against her how she would feel . Just because he has different colored skin doesn’t mean they should be accusing him of something he didnt do. And they should at least be giving him a chance to say how he feels before they go and make decisions of what someone else did .
    I’ve seen a situation where people have thought someone stole something but they didn’t . And no one asked him if it was true or not they just went and judged them and never thought to see the truth or not . They just heard rumours and followed them. Not realizing the fact of how that person felt when they found out people were saying things that were not true .

  • jmae9

    I think that Atticus meant before you judge someone, you should try to think about how they feel, and to put yourself in their position. It relates to Scout’s life because Scout has to go through alot of stuff. She’s going to have to make sure that before she goes around judging people because of what they say, she should think about how they feel.
    It could relate to my life because before I get frustrated or mad at people because of something they did or said, I should think about what has happened to them. There are a few people in our school I think would be really mean and snotty, but the truth is I don’t know them, so I can’t judge how they are.

  • drama404

    Atticus is telling Scout that she doesn’t realize how hard it is for the people that don’t have much money or the african americans or the Radleys. He is telling her that she should put herself in their shoes and not to judge people. This relates to Scout’s experiences because she judges Walter Cunningham because he has no money or how she believes all the myths and rumors about Boo Radley. This is like my life because when I was starting school if there were kids who wore the same clothes two or three days in a row I wouldn’t play with them because I thought they were dirty or poor. I now realize that it wasn’t their fault. Now I understand that everyone is different and I’m okay with that.

  • keni

    People tend to believe they know it all and that everybody is the same and though some sayings may explain something of this nature it is not true. Everybody is different and nobody is ever going to feel the same all we can do is try our best and keep our head held high. This relates to scout when scout is talking to miss maudi about boo radley. In my life expeirence there was a man down the street who nobody ever talked to, because he was to grumpy and this made nobody like him. I think if they had of known why he was always so grumpy or had been able to get past that they would have not cared as much about how grumpy he was and maybe included him a little more.

  • mojay6

    I think that the meaning is you never really understand someone until you spend a day, and stuff that they may go through. You never really no someone until you get to know them.

    Atticus is trying to get the pint across to scout, that she should be sticking up for Tom Robinson because he tells her that amagin if it was her and she was innocent and no one would be on her side because she was black.

    My personal experience is when I was in Florida my grandmother, aunt Jill, cousin carrie and I were driving around the city, going to Berlingtons coat factory. That is the day I found out that my grandmother was racist. My cousin and I were looking around and there was a car beside us and I was waving to the man driving the vehicle, my grandmother was appauled and she flipped right out she started yell at my cousin and I.

    Carrie was shocked! My gram was tell us we should wave at the man because he was coloured skined (her word!) We looked at eachother in disbelief and we said to her gram your racist!! And she said no i just dont like black people, they can do anything! I looked over at the man and he was smileing. (we were at a light)
    Gram then said I was not aloud to look at him, they are not to be trusted! They could pull a knife on you!

    Carrie and I then said gram, we dont think like you black people are the same you can think what you want but we dont have to think that way. We were very impressed that we said that but our grandmother was not.

  • borderlinecrazie

    I think that by telling Scout this, Atticus is trying to get her to understand that you have to look at a situation from all points of view. If you only listen to one side of the story, then your not going to get all the information you need in order to understand why the person did what they did. Sometimes though, you are involved in a conflict and believe that what you think is right and that nothing is your fault. If you do this then you are biased but if you just take a few moments to imagine that you are the other person, then you can realize how they feel, you can see the situation from their point of view. Hopefully, by seeing the other side, you can resolve the conflict and have a better understanding of the person.

    This relates to Scout because she is constantly finding herself in fights and fails to see the reason behind another persons actions. She also judges people before she knows them and what their life is actually like.

    This relates to the real world because people tend to judge people based on their race, gender, religious beliefs, the way they act, what they say, ect., but they fail to see past these things and this stops them from actually getting to know a person.

  • dinoosaur

    I think that this quote means that you don’t really know a person unless you’re in his or her shoes. You don’t know what they’re thinking, feeling, doing, needing, ect.

    It relates to Scout’s experiences because of all the kids telling stories about Arthur Radley when they don’t really know him.

    It could also relate in my life because, I’m going to be honest here, I have judged a lot of people before I actually met them. It is a terrible thing to do, because how can you judge them? You don’t know what they have been through, what they’re going through, what they’re feeling, doing, thinking, or anything. You don’t know them. It is hard to see through another persons eyes, or be in someone’s shoes, because how do you know what is going on in their lives? Well, you don’t really.

  • aamp

    I think that Atticus means that you can never really know someone else point of veiw or know how they think feel and go through in the run of a day when he says .. ” 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 ” .

    I think this relates to Scout because Jem , Dill and herself all play a game in the summer called ” Boo Radley ” . I don’t think that is nice . They make up a bunch of story’s about him but they don’t know what goes on in his house all the time and they don’t know why he never comes out of his house . They are just being judgemental .. maybe if they could live a day in his shoes , maybe they would understand .

    This quote relates to life in general . There are soo many hatefull people in the world who judge , pick at and make fun of everyday . Nobody knows what those people go through , how bad their life may be and yet again people choose to do it still .

  • basketball44

    What Atticus means by this quote is don’t judge people before you know them or just because of their race. This relates to scout because people keep talking about Atticus defending a black man (Tom Robinson). Tom Robinson was accused of raping one of the ewlles. Most of the town is rasist and discrimative so they dont appreciate Atticus defending Tom. Scout has almost got in a fight over this topic because it was being disscused at school.

    I have juged people plenty of times before i have got a chance to know them and im sure poeple have done to me. It’s hard not to because you often don’t know until it’s too late.

  • devilboy666

    Atticus means that you don’t know what they mean untill you live them for a day and you will find out what they are giong through. She thinks Burris Ewell gets to sit home and play but he has to work with his parents and he fails every year, he repeats year after year after year.

    This relate to my life right now. My friend stays home alot and i go home sick and my mom says the same thing over and over. She said “If I can go to work pucking my guts out and not go home then if you come home sick you should be dieing if not stay at school.”i say” but if your sick you go home the school tells you to go home if ur sick.” But she always keeps saying the same thing. If she walked in my shoes then she would know whats wrong.

    My other friend his mom asks if he wants to go to school and she doesn’t care if he jigs. My mom is realy unfair.

  • mdawg15

    This quote really just means don’t judge people baised on a few actions, consider what they have been through, where they come from, or the circumstances at that time. This relates to Scouts experience, like when Walter Cunningham came over to the Finches for lunch and Drown his meal in Maple Syrup, thinking he had ruined it. Scout didn’t realize that Walter dosen’t get to eat like he did that afternoon very often.

    Ive judged people before, and im pretty sure people have judged me before aswell. It’s somthing we all need to work on including myself.

  • hockeygup15

    In chapter three when Atticus tells Scout ” You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of veiw- until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” He is saying not to judge a book by its cover. The way someone may look doesnt mean their attitude has to be that way, they could be the exact opposite. Also everyone sees things different and with most situations there is always more then one point of veiw so more then one person can be right.
    Ways that this quote relates to Scout’s life is that with all the racist comments about people with different skin color are to different and shouldn’t be treated equal is wrong. Just because the way they look doeng the realsnt mean they are different they have the same interests and dislikes as everyone else and you should get to know them before you treat them differently.
    A way that this can relate to my life and everyones lives is when they are in school. With all the cliques it is difficult to get to know everyone. They are always being judged for example Hicks, Druggies, Emos, Loners, Preps, Outcasts, Etc. Everywhere you look there are groups, sometimes this is not the best thing because some people will get bullied or hurt theirself while trying to fit in, no matter what they do they will be judged without people knowing them.

  • elocin

    This quote means that you should get to know the person before you say something about them or judge them.This realates to Scout because she judges the kids in her class from all the stories she heres from Dill and Jem, also she judges the Radley family becuase of all the stuff she hears about them. This realates to me because i always just ask friends about people that i hear stories about and they say that its completely true but whenever i talk to those people they always tell me a complete different story.

  • kennyblankenship

    “You never really understand someone until you walk around in their shoes” is a quote from chapter three in a conversation of Atticus and Scout. This is an essential theme in the novel as most, if not all, of the characters would really change their behavior in a situation if they saw it from a different point o f view.

    The significance of this quote is demonstrated frequently throughout the course of the story, often relating to Scout. One such example is that of Calpurnia; Scout’s African American housekeeper. In Scout’s eyes Calpurnia excessively nags her; with Scout thinking that being critical is just her nature. This is not true, Scout later discovers by becoming older that Calpurnia was just trying t look out for her. By putting herself in Calpurnia’s shoes Scout could have discovered much sooner and the increased openness with her could have changed Scout’s later years significantly.

    In my life I have had an encounter where, not only did I put myself in another person’s shoes, but I got to wear the shoes themselves. Many times I have gotten frustrated with the people who guard the gates at carnivals. Their strange rules had me on the verge of being physically aggressive. A few months ago I had to guard the gates for the yearly flea market. The rules were extremely odd, you had to buy a weekend pass instead of day pass and there was no choice over whether you where staying just for a day or not. This made multiple people angry because day passes cost 2.00 and weekend passes cost 10.00 with the people only visiting for half of one day. As you can imagine many people were very angry at the increase in price for one hour in the flea market. As I commented to my supervisor that we should just let them in she replied “ we don’t make the rules, we enforce them” I was powerless to soothe the anger of the visitors and it angered me. It was then that I realized that the gate guards had no authority over the price and I should have put myself in their shoes.

    So putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can save you loads of frustration and make you reconsider how you will react in a situation.

  • mdawg15

    In chapter 13 aunt Alexandria sterotypes the women of Penfield. She says “It goes to show you, all the Penfield women are flighty. By this she means that all women from Penfield are ditzy.

  • moashley

    When Atticus tells Scout that you can’t really understand a person until you know what its like to walk around in their skin, I think he is trying to explain to her that she doesn’t know what everyone else goes through, or what happens in there home, or how they are treated. He says this to her when she is talking about Boo Radley and isn’t being very nice about him but everything she has heard about him were rumors and she is going by what she heard or what little she saw from their yard.
    This could relate to someone’s life because they could be admiring a person and all the stuff they own or money they have. But you never really know what their life could be like at home. They may have lots of money and look all put together in public or at school but maybe their home life is horrible.

  • mdawg15

    Good Copy

    In chapter 13 aunt Alexandria sterotypes the women of Penfield. She says “It goes to show you, all the Penfield women are flighty. By this she means that all women from Penfield are ditzy.
    The significance of this quote to the sorty is it proves that aunt Alexandria sterotypes alot of things and shows she isn’t very reliable when she characteraizes people.
    Sterotyping has an negative effect on society because of the fact that almost everyone is different. It is unfair to the people that get sterotyped because a large majority of the time, the sterotype is incorect.

  • adorableeyesgirlie

    The meaning of this quote is you never really understand a per son or what they are going through until you sit donw and talk with them and see it the way they see it. How the quote relates to Scout’s experiences in the novel is she is meeting a lot of new people and learning their opinions and she will meet a lot of new people in the future who have different opinions than she does, and what her dad wants is for her to grow up accepting other people’s opinions and thoughts and feelings instead of just judging and thinking they are wrong.

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