How Atticus' Actions Played a Defining Role in the Novel: to Kill a Mockingbird

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As a father Atticus is devoted to his children, Jem and Scout, ready with a hug when they need comfort and ready to spend time reading to them. Although he allows his children freedom to play and explore, he is also firm and holds disciplinary beliefs, always teaching his children to think of how their actions affect others and creating punishments to teach his children valuable lessons.

Scout and Jem both respect Atticus not only as a father, but as a mentor and friend. Atticus, being a lawyer, is expected to uphold fairness and equity in all situations. When Tom Robinson is unjustly accused of assaulting Mayella Ewell, Atticus does all that is within his power to prove Tom’s innocence. In Scout’s eyes this act of kindness is greatly influential, because from Atticus’ actions she learns about how to deal with racism. For Jem, he learns how to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer. This is important to Atticus as a role model, as it ultimately reflects upon Scout and Jem’s personalities and morals.

Yet another example of Atticus’ ‘tough love’ method of parenting is when Jem damages the camellia bushes of Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, a neighbour who scolds and insults the children; Atticus sentences him to read to her each day. As Jem reads, he and Scout witness the dying woman's battle against her morphine addiction and learn the true meaning of courage: "it's when you know you're licked before you begin but you see it through no matter what," Atticus tells them.

Another reason why Atticus is a good parent is that he sets an example of behaviour and honesty. He does not shield the children from tragic events. By doing so he would not encourage Scout and Jem to mature and would diminish the bond between father and child. When Bob Ewell kills himself, Mr. Tate requests that Atticus keep it quiet. Atticus refuses, and replies, "Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I've tried to live so I can look squarely back at him”. Atticus believes that...
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