Chapter 10 “Better Options”

“I guess he decided he wouldn’t shoot until he had to, and he had to today.”(TKAM, Chapter 10, Page 130)

Scout and Jem believe that Atticus is too old. Atticus does not do the same activities as the other fathers of the town and he is much older compared to them. Scout complains of this to Miss Maudie who informs Scout on a few of Atticus’s talents. However, they fail to impress Scout. She then asks Calpurnia who says “Mr. Finch? Why, he can do lots of things.”(Lee 121). One day, Scout and Jem see Tim Johnson, a dog, while exploring. They return to inform Calpurnia who realizes the dog has rabies and informs the town. Everyone living on the street stays inside. Heck Tate, the sheriff, and Atticus arrive to kill the dog before it harms anyone. Tate struggles to shoot accurately. He says that if he misses he will shoot a house and gives the gun to Atticus. Atticus quickly takes aim and shoots the dog. Jem and Scout are stunned because they believed that he was not able to do anything but read. People begin emerging from their homes around neighborhood. Miss Maudie tells the children that Atticus is extremely talented with a gun but has stopped shooting as he has become older. She tells them she believes it is because he does not shoot unless he needs to. Zeebo, the garbage collector comes to retrieve the corpse. Scout wants to brag about Atticus’s ability but Jem stops her telling her that if he wanted people to know he would tell them.

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Literary Elements


  • “He reminded me of a car stuck in a sand bed”(Lee 123)


  • “Jem gulped like a goldfish”(Lee 123)
  • “We could see him shiver like a horse shedding flies”(Lee 126)
  • “I thought he moved like an underwater swimmer:”(Lee 127)


  • “I thought I’d better warn you. You’re in considerable peril.”(Lee 121)


  • “the neighborhood slowly came alive.”(Lee 128)

Theme Statement

“Violence is not required to solve a problem unless it is the only option.”

– Brandon Liu

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