To Kill a Mockingbird – Character Analysis: Atticus Finch

The story of To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee ┬árevolves around a young girl, her sister and her father. Her father, Atticus Finch, is often reffered to as the wisest person in Maycomb County. Atticus is a lawyer in the town and is able to provide a decent income to support his children. People in the town turn to him when in doubt, and he’ll generally say the right thing for the situation. He is portrayed as a older man with a love for reading, calm decision making and a leader through example. He seems to have the qualities that we have now, not ones that a man in the Great Depression would. And Atticus, while a well known and respected man, seems never to reveal too much of his personal life for the sake of revealing it. If he does, then there is a lesson he wants to teach through that.

So far, one of the major plots seems to be about his choice to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, in court. During this era, the residents of Maycomb county and the world in general were still extremely racist towards African Americans. They were considered slaves and not on the same level as normal people. The people who were poorer than the black people (for example: the Erwells) were even respected more. Because of this racism and prejudice, the decision of Atticus’ to defend this man (who would certainly be killed without a lawyer because he is black and the accuser is white) is widely discussed in the town. Atticus seems to take all the criticism and name-calling well and sticks to his belief. Atticus also seems to want to influence his children’s thoughts and attitudes towards colored people by hiring an African-American maid, Calpurina. He pays her a normal wage, one that a white maid would receive, and treats her with the same respect he treats others. Atticus is the example in this book of acceptance and multiculturalism in a deeply narrow-minded community and country.

The way he acts reflects his parenting of his 2 children “Jem” and “Scout”. Atticus again seems to be very ahead of his time in terms of parenting. Scout says in the book that she has never recalled Atticus hitting or yelling at her. His 2 children were once ashamed of him, because he didn’t fish or hunt due to his age. But as they grew, they began appreciating him not for the activities he did on the weekend, but his morals and beliefs. When Jem or Scout have a question, he never diverts them: he gives them the correct answer and only the correct answer. He advises his children about doing things. He may be slightly strict sometimes by prohibiting them from visiting Boo Radleys house, a very mysterious house that symbolizes the childhood imagination and curiousity, but it is only because he believes that what would happen to them is worse than him being strict. The way he parents his children is sometimes questioned by his neighboors, but Atticus is just different from everybody else in a good way. Atticus believes his ways of parenting is correct, and doesn’t care if someone else says otherwise.

Atticus is one of the most loyal, consistent, and humane characters to have ever been created. His morals are not only idolized by Jem and Scout, but by real life kids and parents too. The way he acts and the message he supports is something that we could all appreciate and work towards. Atticus is an intregal cog in this book, and without this glowing example of wisdom, this book would not have been as successful as it has been. He is a symbol of goodness, knowledge, and tolerance, and should be a role model for all in this generation and for generations to come.


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