Atticus Finch: Archetypal Hero

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In Harper Lee’s award-winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, the character of Atticus Finch is an archetypal hero. He possesses all the major character traits of a true hero, among which the following three are most impressive and dominant: the instinct and ability to protect the weak, kindness and courage.

Firstly, Atticus consistently exhibits an important quality of a hero: protecting the weaker and the disadvantaged. This character trait is evident when Atticus is told that there was a mad dog heading down the main residential street and could potentially harm his children and the citizens of Maycomb. He rushes back from work (despite his busy schedule as a prominent lawyer of the town) and takes over the daunting task from the sheriff to shoot dead the dangerous dog in one shot. Another example of Atticus’ hero traits is apparent in his dealings with Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley, a social outcast. Although everyone else –including his children– regard ‘Boo’ as a malevolent phantom, Atticus asks his children to be slow to judge, and to “climb into a person’s skin and walk around in it” before judging him or her. Most of all, Atticus willingly defended Tom Robinson, a black man, against the word of a white person, during an era where coloured people were considered to be the lowest class and consequently suffered discrimination by the vast majority of the society.

Secondly, apart from protecting the weaker, Atticus is genuinely kind-hearted. As an example, Atticus graciously provides legal service for Walter Cunningham Sr., even though Mr. Cunningham is known to be very poor and cannot afford Atticus’ services. Atticus generously told Mr. Cunningham, “Let that be the least of your worries.”, demonstrating Atticus’ compassion and consideration for those less fortunate. Later on, when Scout and Jem invited Walter Cunningham Jr. over for lunch, Atticus treated Walter as an important guest, providing him with good food and hospitality, regardless of the...
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