Atticus"s advice to Scout is to keep her fists down, don"t let anyone get her goat, and trying fighting with her head for a change. Scout strikes her cousin after Francis calls her father a "n****r-lover." She has trouble handling Francis"s insults because she did not expect criticism to come from a family member, and his insult cuts more deeply than those of her peers.
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Scout gets into an altercation with her classmate, Cecil Jacobs, when he begins ridiculing Atticus on the playground for defending a black man. Cecil"s racial slurs and nasty comments about Atticus enrage Scout, who contemplates fighting him. As an impulsive, aggressive child, Scout struggles to control her anger and typically...
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Scout gets into an altercation with her classmate, Cecil Jacobs, when he begins ridiculing Atticus on the playground for defending a black man. Cecil"s racial slurs and nasty comments about Atticus enrage Scout, who contemplates fighting him. As an impulsive, aggressive child, Scout struggles to control her anger and typically responds with violence when she is upset.
Following the incident at school, Scout asks her father about Cecil"s unflattering comments and he describes his peculiar situation defending Tom Robinson. After Atticus explains the situation, he offers his daughter some valuable advice by saying,
You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let "em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change … it"s a good one, even if it does resist learning.
Additionally, Atticus also advises his daughter to remember they are still friends with their neighbors, which is why it is important to remain tolerant and calm. Atticus understands the difficult situation he has placed his children in and does not want Scout making enemies with her friends. He goes on to tell Scout,
This time we aren"t fighting the Yankees, we"re fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they"re still our friends and this is still our home.
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Despite her father"s advice, Scout loses her temper and physically assaults her cousin during a Christmas gathering when he calls Atticus a "n****r-lover." Scout has trouble handling insults from Francis because he is related to her, and she never expected criticism to come from her family. Scout has a limited understanding of Atticus"s advice and only applies his lesson to her peers and neighbors. Since Francis is family, his insults cut more deeply, and Scout reacts with violence. Essentially, Francis"s insults were unexpected, and Scout was not prepared to handle the situation like a mature individual. She is still young and impulsive, which also explains her lack of self-control.