To Kill a Mockingbird Parenting

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There are two main parents in this novel: Atticus Finch, father of Scout and Jem, and Bob Ewell, father of Mayella Ewell. They are contrasting characters; Atticus is generally shown as a decent person with good morals, and a good father, whereas Ewell is shown to be selfish and a bad father.

One of the main reasons Atticus makes a good parent is that he doesn't show off, and is modest; for example when the children find out Atticus was 'the deadest shot in Maycomb County in his time', he doesn't gloat about it, and the fact that the children had never discovered this before shows that Atticus feels it is unimportant. As Jem says; 'I reckon if he'd wanted us to know it, he'da told us. If he was proud of it, he'da told us.' This tells us that he isn't concerned about how he appears, because he isn't particularly proud of his reputation. The way Harper Lee writes 'he'da told us' twice, it shows Jem not only trying to convince Scout of it, but also himself.

In contrast, Harper Lee shows Mr Ewell to be quite the opposite. He hates Atticus because he 'destroyed his last shred of credibility'. This shows him to be concerned with his reputation, which means he will probably pay more attention to himself rather than his children, which could lead to them being neglected. Atticus communicates with his children in a more friendly than fatherly way, shown at the beginning of the novel when Scout states that he treats us (Scout and Jem) with 'courteous detachment', and that they found their father 'satisfactory'. This term 'courteous detachment' shows that he isn't the type of father who tries to have an input in everything they do, but lets them grow up making their own decisions and mistakes, so when they reach adulthood they will be prepared. Scout finds her father 'satisfactory', but doesn't say whether this is enough for her. However, throughout the novel, the reader gets the impression that Scout is happy for her father to treat them in this way, and that she...
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