Monday, May 9, 2011

Chapters 8&9. "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win."

Throughout the entire book so far, Atticus has played a major role in Scout's life. Scout has looked up to him entirely when it comes to education and learning about life. Atticus has shown Scout many things and tries to explain everything as best as he can. Scout is curious about many situations and wants to figure out why many things happen. In this particular instance, Scout is wondering why anyone should try if they already "know" they are going to loose. He explains this through the quote of, "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win."(101)

Atticus explains to Scout that whether you win or loose, trying your best is the greatest thing you can do. When Atticus said "we were licked a hundred years before we started," he is trying to say that there was really no chance of them winning since the beginning. However, he explains that that does not mean he shouldn't put up a good fight. The more he fights, the harder and longer it takes for the other people to win. Also, who knows, Atticus still does have a chance of winning, even if the odds do not look good. In addition, even if he completely failed, if he tried his best he would look a lot better than just completly giving up.

Do you agree with the advice Atticus gives Scout, or would you just give up and not try your hardest? Do you think Scout will use this advice in the future or not really?


  1. When Atticus tells Scout this, I think that he is referring to the time of slavery and, in essence, telling Scout that racism and prejudice are still prevalent in Maycomb and all over the United States. He is telling her that although this prejudice is entirely out of his control (having started years before he was born) he is still going to fight. He is teaching Scout a lesson: Even if the odds are stacked heavily against you, you still have to try your hardest and give it your all. Although some questions have been raised about Atticus’s ability as a parent, in this moment he makes it clear that he has the ability to teach his children valuable life lessons. I agree wholeheartedly with this advice, because there is never any excuse not to try. If Atticus had not taken this court case or not attempted to argue for Tom Robinson’s freedom then he would have to live the rest of his life knowing that he betrayed a fellow human to a life (or at least a lengthy amount of time) of imprisonment. I know this sounds cheesy, but nothing is impossible. It could be that Atticus, even though he doesn’t think that he will win the case, will somehow argue his client to freedom. It is always important to try your best and it is good that he has shown this to Scout.
    I think that Scout being the stubborn little girl she is, will undoubtedly listen to this advice. She will fight anyone no matter what the consequences if they have insulted her or her family. She has a very strict honor code of standing up for what she believes in and this will not change in the face of adversity. Even without Atticus’s wise advice, I believe that Scout would try her hardest anyway.

  2. From these chapters, we get to learn more about Atticus' character. He is not only a wise father but has morals and ethics he follows too, something many people have lost. What Atticus is talking about is slavery and how African-Americans were treated harshly to the point of insanity. Atticus wants to create a change. Slavery has already made some differences, Atticus will try to create a bigger difference. Scout looks up to her father and I believe she will be on his side to the end. The male figures in her life are important to her and she has much respect for them. However, Scout is young and may not fully understand what her father is doing. Atticus is the sort of man who follows his heart no matter what the consequences could be because he would rather live with the hate from others then the hate from himself. He is strong and I agree with his advice to Scout. Atticus has a significant characteristic in many ways but hasn't life taught us anything? Fairy tales and movies might have taught us that good always triumphs over evil but in life, does that really always happen?

  3. I agree with Cami and Chris that Atticus is teaching Scout a lesson but I don't exactly think it's about giving up. Scout looks up to Atticus and respects what he asks of her and how he treats her. Atticus is in a time of need and Scout doesn't know how to help him, but she wants to. Atticus finds himself giving her advice in helping him. His advice always finds a way to come back and help Scout immensely when she puts it to use in her curious world. Scout's characterization and personality infer that she wouldn't give up on anything that she doesn't believe in. No matter what Atticus advises her to do, Scout will do the best she can to live up to it and finish what she starts. And even though I don't believe Atticus is instructing Scout to never give up, those are healthy guidelines to follow, especially at the age Scout is now.