Leadership of Atticus Finch

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In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch exemplifies leadership. Finch is a soft spoken attorney in the post depression South who agrees to represent a black man charged with raping a young white woman. In a prejudiced region, during an oppressive era, Finch boldly chooses the path less taken. Though he may have upset a good many in challenging the values of the time period, throughout the novel, Finch displays leadership by bravely acting on his principles, as well as in the way he raises his children. Atticus Finch is a progressive literary figure who has helped shape culture and thought by doing what he knows is just regardless of opposition.

Finch’s actions in opposing the majority’s mindset proved powerful, even if they weren’t successful in the end. In speaking to his son, Jem, about representing the innocent Tom Robinson, he says, "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” (pg. 124) Atticus Finch believes in doing what is ethically right, regardless of the criticism that befalls him. He knows that changing cultural thought may not happen overnight, but his willingness to take on this hopeless court case, could begin the pendulum of change. This tenacity is characteristic of true leadership.

Atticus refuses to be swayed by those who angrily disagree with him. When Bob Ewell, the father of the 'victim', spits on him, he simply pulls out his handkerchief and wipes his face. Atticus maintains his intense stare at Mr. Ewell who is the first to back away, calling Atticus a “nigger lover”. Atticus sticks to his pacifism even in the face of danger. His calm reaction illustrates that he will stick to his ideals, even when faced with irate opposition.

Atticus Finch also demonstrates leadership in how he raises...
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