Atticus is trying to teach Scout and Jem a better way to act, as shown when the theme is first introduced in the sentence “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. “(p.35) Atticus tries to convince Scout to be sympathetic to other people’s situations and look at thing through their eyes before making judgements about them or their behaviour. Scout doesn’t yet understand what Atticus means so he tries to put it in a way she would understand better “until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”(p.35) She begins to understand what he is saying but still struggles to grasp the concept. Throughout the book Atticus takes this graciously and acts calmly as he understands how difficult it must be for a young girl to understand concepts that many adult still cannot comprehend. Although Scout does not completely follow what Atticus is saying she thinks of how challenging it must be for Miss Caroline and takes one step on the journey of enlightenment. As the book continues many character help Scout along this journey.
Calpurnia is another major character in revealing the theme to the audience and Scout. She teaches Scout many life lessons and shows her a new world, a way of life that Scout has never known. When Calpurnia takes the children to her community church and Scout begins to realise the differences between her world and theirs and starts to see things through Calpurnia’s eyes. “ ‘Cal,’ I whispered, ‘where are the hymn-books?’ ‘We don’t have any,’ she said. (p.124)
Scouts innocence and lack of world knowledge is shown in this as she realises the difference between Calpurnia’s church and her own.
“He’s just like our preacher,” said Jem, “but why do you all sing hymns that way?” “Linin‘?” she asked. “Is that what it is?” “Yeah, it’s called linin‘. They’ve done it that way as long as I can remember.” ‘Jem said it looked like they could save the collection money for a year and get some hymn-books. Calpurnia laughed. “Wouldn’t do any good,” she said. “They can’t read.” “Can’t read?” I asked. “All those folks?”’(p.128)
Through this Scout gets to see things from another person’s view and discovers that Calpurnia’s life is different to hers and that some of the thing’s Cal does are because of that difference. Scout and Jem were always taught the correct way to talk and act and this is challenged by Calpurnia’s actions within her community, but they soon discover that their “right” is not necessarily the only “right”.
“‘Cal,’ I asked ‘why do you talk nigger-talk to the –to your folks when you know it’s not right?’
‘Well in the first place I’m black-’
‘That doesn’t mean you hafta talk that way when you know better,’ said Jem
Calpurnia tilted her head then pressed her hat down carefully over her ears. ‘It’s right hard to say’ she said. ‘suppose you and Scout talked coloured-folks’ talk at home – it’d be out of place, wouldn’t it? Now what if I talked white-folks’ talk at church and with my neighbours? They’d think I was puttin’ on airs to beat Moses’” (p.129)
The segment above demonstrates Scout and Jem judging others