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Miller's To Kill a Mockingbird
Pages and Files
Alabama in the 1930's
Harper Lee biography
Jim Crow Laws
Scout's Lessons Learned
As the story progresses more and more (Chapter 9-21), we start to get an idea of how well-moraled Atticus really is. When it comes to the first defensive act of the use of the word negro (75), to the conclusion of the trial in chapter 21 (211). He shows great disgust to the general treatment of the Tom Robinson case, and he doesn't like the general racism towards an otherwise good man.
Atticus is also quite a mature and contained man. When Bob Ewell confronts him the many times he does, as rude as Bob is, Atticus maintains his complete composure and still wishes Bob the best. This man is also quite understanding. He often tells Scout and Jem to "put yourself in their skin/shoes and walk around for a while." Meaning that you don't necessarily know what one is going through until you experience it yourself. Which is why when Bob Ewell spat in his face and what not, he didn't end up getting mad. He just feels sorry for them.
Atticus shows quite a bit of talent in the 12 chapters. Its said that he plays a Jew's harp (98), and that he also has the best shot in Maycomb (98). He demonstrates that he has the best shot in Maycomb when he was needed to shoot the mad dog (96). He shows while in the trial that he has a great knowledge of the law. He was discretely painting the jury a picture in their mind of how the Ewell's live. He was showing how they are pretty well complete hillbillies and that the Bob Ewell doesn't really have respect for his kids.
Atticus shows in these chapters that he is getting older. His reason for not fighting/doing anything about Bob Ewell spitting in his face is that he is too old. As old as Atticus is getting, he still shows class. His real reason for not doing anything about it, was so that it saves Mayella the beating. Bob got the anger out of his system, so he doesn't have to go home to Mayella to beat her. Now that's class. If that doesn't top it off, Atticus also wears suits. Practically 24/7. Also, he is very clean cut. How much more class can one handle? Hold on, he also has good moral stance and is straightforward with his kids? This man is at the top of the class chart.
Bottom line, Atticus not only showed growth as a character through these last chapters, he showed great morality. Which leads me to believe that this man is not only a very important character in this book, he is also a good role model for real life situations.
Atticus Finch, a devoted father of two, is a “feeble” man who wears glasses and is “nearly blind in his left eye” (89). He is almost fifty years old, and according to his daughter, Scout, is “middle aged” (6). As a young man, he was frugal with the money he earned as a lawyer, practicing “economy more than anything” since he had to pay for his brother’s education (5)
Atticus was elected to serve in the state legislature where he then met and married a “Graham from Montgomery” who was fifteen years younger than him (6). She died of a sudden heart attack, and Atticus was left to raise his two children. Being a lifelong resident of Maycomb, he is related to almost everyone in the community through blood or marriage (6).
Atticus is man of few hobbies or vices, for “he never went hunting, he did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke. He sat in the living room and read” (89). Being an avid reader and an educated man, Atticus is respected by many in his community, and he personifies many positive character traits. For example, Atticus is truthful and honest with his children, providing them with sage advice. He is respectful and non-judgemental of others, and models this behaviour for his children. The most important life lesson Scout learns about respect and empathy is from her father when he tells her that “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb his skin and walk around in it” (30). Atticus instructs his children to always be respectful of those who are different and to respect the privacy of others by warning Jem to not be “putting [Boo’s] life history on display for the edification of the neighbourhood” (49).
Atticus approaches all problems in life with logic and reason. When Schout was scared that she would no longer be able to read because of Miss Caroline, Atticus comforts her by devising a compromise of "mutual concessions" in which Scout can read at night with him if she continues to go to school (29). When crises occur within Maycomb, as when a rabid dog appears on the street or Miss Maudie's house is on fire, the community looks to Atticus' leadership. The citizens of Maycomb know that Atticus is a man of intergrity.
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