To Kill a Mockingbird "Point of View" assignment by Haley Murphy

Entry 1: Atticus shoots the Mad Dog

Calpurnia calls Atticus and the police to shoot the dangerous dog.

Perspective: Atticus Finch

Cal called while I was working to tell me there was a mad dog down the street. I took the Sheriff with me to help, I didn't want anyone getting hurt. When we got there, I was little scared- Sheriff Tate knows my shooting skills, and I didn't want to have to use them in front of the kids. Now that we're here though, that dog looks dangerous, and the sheriff wants me to shoot it, but the kids are right behind me- I don't want Jem and Scout to think shooting animals is the right thing to do. But I have to, if I don't, the dog could hurt someone, and they might see me as weak. A father doesn't want his children to see him as weak. My heart pounded as I raised the gun, my legs growing weak and arms shaking. The familiar view of aiming with a gun came into my sight, and I felt almost as if I was at home, enjoying the same pastime I had so many times. With a pounding heart and a twitch of the finger, I ended the dog's life. I turned to see the shock on the faces of Jem and Scout.

Entry 2: Miss Maudie's Fire

Miss Maudie's House

Perspective: Miss Maudie

The fire. Orange and yellow flames licked the walls of my home as I scrambled out, coughing thick, dark smoke on my way. I heard commotion outside, shouting for help. I fell at base of the steps of my home, pulled up by Atticus Finch and taken to safety. I saw Scout and Jem standing by the Radley house, and gladly observed they were out of the path of danger. At first, panic set in as all of my possessions were lost to me, and in my head I sorted through and tried to remember the important things in my home I could miss. Then I realized- the barn was going to go with it. As an older women who values possessions the least in the world, how could I be panicked? As long as my neighbors are okay, I will survive. My dreaded barn, a waste of space, would be gone by morning, and I could have a new home with room for more flowers.

Entry 3: First Day of School

Small schoolhouse like the one Scout and Jem attend.

Perspective: Miss Caroline

Today was rough. Not being from Maycomb, I knew things would be different, but I never imagined I would have to adjust this much. The children are rude, calling me names and completely walking out of the school. I almost regret being a teacher. I love kids, and there aren't many other professions for women, but these kids are terrors. I wish they would consider things from my point of view. Scout was insufferable, correcting me at every turn and making it look like when she was more qualified to lead the room than I. I've felt every emotion possible today, from happiness when I arrived, to horror when Burris offended me, embarrassment when Scout interrupted me, exhaustion at the end of the day, and sadness when my new job did not go as planned. If only they'd see it from my point of view, though I suppose no one has ever taught them that because they were merciless at my ignorance. Perhaps that's something I could teach them- but my lessons haven't gone as planned so far, so what's the point in trying?

Entry 4: Jem's Pants

Jem finds his pants sewn and hung over the Radley fence.

Perspective: Jem Finch

I think Atticus knew. I saw his face when we gave him our excuse, telling him we'd been playing strip poker, but he's smarter than that. Now I have to go get my pants. Laying in my bed, I waited until Scout's breathing slowed so I could furtively crawl across the floor and sneak my way to Boo Radley's house. The night was dark and the breeze, though it wasn't that cold, chilled me to the bone. What if Boo came out and ate me? What if he chased me all the way home? What if he grabbed me and pulled me into his house? These thoughts were not nearly as bad as what I would find. These were imaginary, I came up with them in my head, and even though I was afraid of them, what I found was much worse- because it was real. As I stepped onto the Radley property and shifted through the bushes, I spotted the blue of my pants- but they weren't where I left them. Over the fence, the hole the fence had ripped in them was sewn... but by who?


What did I learn from this assignment?

From this assignment, I learned the lesson Atticus tried to teach Scout- you don't truly understand what someone is going through until you walk in their shoes. The two main examples of this in the book are Scout's teacher, Miss Caroline, and Boo Radley. Scout spends her first day of school annoyed with the way Miss Caroline teaches, acts, and her ignorance of Maycomb people. Upon returning home and relaying the frustrating day to Atticus, Scout is told to try to see things from her teacher's perspective, who had never been to Maycomb prior and had no knowledge of its people and culture. The second, more significant part of this lesson in the book was Boo Radley. Scout and Jem spend the book searching through Boo's yard, invading his privacy, wondering why he never came out. When he saves their lives at the end of the book, and Sheriff Tate decides to keep everything a secret, Scout finally understands- and sees that though Boo is a nice person, his choice not to leave the house is best for him, from his perspective.

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