To Kill a Mockingbird

Chapter 31

A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing pole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention. It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose’s. . . . Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day’s woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive. Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog. Summer, and he watched his children’s heart break. Autumn again, and Boo’s children needed him. 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 porch was enough.

Explain why this quote is important.

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This is near the end of the book. The scene is the same as it has always been in this small town except now Scout views it through a different lens. She sees it through the lens of maturity: She has experienced both the good and the very ugly traits of her neighbors and community. She finally begins to appreciate what her father meant by "you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them."