To kill a mocking bird is a novel written by Harper lee set in the southern part of America just after the civil war had ended . This means that though slavery had been abolished , black people were still held to a lower standard than white people . It is not only black people who are subjected to racial prejudice but also anyone who fails to conform to the social norms of the ‘tired old town’ of Maycomb.
Atticus Finch is one of the main characters in To Kill a Mocking Bird.He is the father to Jem and Scout finch and a lawyer in Maycomb County .Most of the main themes in the novel are shown in one way or another through this character.
One of the main themes in the book is Intolerance .Atticus is adamant about his children not developing the same intolerant views that the other inhabitants of the town have towards people who are different to themselves. This is shown during a conversation held between Atticus and his daughter, Scout ,after she judges her new teacher .He says to her, ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’
This shows Atticus as a very empathetic man .He could easily follow the other people of Maycomb in turning against anyone who is different but instead decides to look at things from their side of the situation, a skill needed in his line of work as a lawyer .It also shows that he wants his children to have these traits , as he is willing to teach Scout about empathy. He wants to change Maycomb’s ways and is starting this by sending his children into the world with a better understanding of the people in it in the hopes of sculpting a generation of more tolerant people.
However, Scout struggles with this concept. This is shown when a poor boy named Walter Cunningham visits the finch residence for a meal and Scout acts very judgemental , criticising him for the way he acts at the dinner table .Not only does this part of the book show a lot about Scout , it shows a lot about Atticus as well. The book says ‘Atticus shook his head at me again.’
Atticus doesn’t vocalise his protest to Scouts verbal assault on Walter. This may have been to spare Walter any further embarrassment which strengthens the idea that Atticus is very empathetic .It may have also been a way of showing how in control of his children Atticus truly is. He doesn’t need words to convey to his children his how he is feeling or what he wants them to do, a simple shake of his head is enough. This paints Atticus as a natural leader which would help him a lot in the courtroom.
Though Scout treats Walter badly, the interactions between Walter and Atticus go very differently. Atticus treats Walter like an equal. This is shown in the book when Lee writes ‘While Walter piled food on his plate, he and Atticus talked like two men-‘. This shows that Atticus does not discriminate by age , but treats those mature enough , despite how young they are, like equals .In fact , the book shows Atticus as undiscriminating, be it against gender, age or race.
In a town where the vast majority of residents look at black people as lesser than themselves, Atticus stands out in the book as one of the few people who are pro-equality. While other white families treat the black people who work at their homes as slaves, Atticus treats Calpurnia, the finch’s cook, as part of the family. When Scout speaks badly of Calpurnia, Atticus says to her ‘I’ve no intention of getting rid of her, now or ever. We couldn’t operate a single day without Cal.’
The quote shows Atticus respects Calpurnia despite the colour of her skin. He is not afraid to admit that Calpurnia is the only thing keeping the family working , which shows he is honest , even in the face of judgment .When he says ‘I’ve no intention of getting rid of her, now or ever.’ It shows he is loyal. Calpurnia is not just an employee to him , she is also a valued member of the household who he finds...
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