Top-Rated Free Essay

Atticus Finch

Better Essays
Lindsay McManus
Mr. Flanagan
AP English 11
1/21/13
Atticus Finch

Throughout life, many amazing individuals enter and leave, each having impact and influence on each person they have been around. These people can teach others so much about events or problems that occur in everyday life by both their words and actions. Atticus Finch is one man who any person no matter their age, race, or background, can learn from. If the definition of a “good man” were looked up online, the computer would probably suggest to visit a site about Atticus Finch, a widowed lawyer with two kids, Jean Louis and Jem, from the novel To Kill A Mockingbird. After having read the novel and coming to learn about Atticus, his traits, and all that he does for his community and family, most people most likely have said to themselves, “Now that is the type of person I hope to be.”
Atticus Finch had all around, strong values. Family always came first for him, and it is not easy for anyone to raise two children single handedly. He could have sent them away to live with a relative, but he was so devoted to his children. He loved them and all of their unique qualities. Jean Louis, who typically went by her nickname “Scout,” is a tomboy. She always chooses to hang out with her brother and their summer friend Dill and would much rather wear overalls instead of dresses. Atticus’ sister Alexandra does not approve of the way Scout is being raised, and wants to “feminize” her. Nonetheless, Atticus never criticized his daughter, and loves her just the way she is. Atticus always yearns to understand his children and this is why his relationships with his son and daughter are so strong. He isn’t the type of father to go to work in the morning and return home at night and pay no attention to his kids. He always makes time for them no matter how stressed out or busy he is.
Atticus is the type of person to always fight for what he believes in, and although sometimes what he fought for wasn’t the popular choice, it definitely was the morally correct choice. Atticus performs a task that has to be done, but that other people are not willing to step up and do; he gets assigned to defend a black man named Tom Robinson who was accused of raping a white woman named Mayella Ewell. African Americans at this time are looked at as if they are lesser than whites. They are treated poorly and Atticus doesn’t agree with it at all. He believes in complete equality of people no matter their sex or race. When the people of Maycomb find out that he is determined to actually fairly defend Tom as well as he can, anger, threats, and insults come pouring in, directed straight towards the Finch family. Nonetheless, Atticus takes the harsh criticism with his head held high and does not retaliate. “Atticus was willing to risk his social standing, professional reputation, and even his physical safety in order to defend a poor, black laborer falsely accused of raping a white woman. Serving for no fee, Atticus heard the call of justice” (Lubet).
Atticus knows he doesn’t have a chance in his case to defend Tom Robinson, but he still puts all he has into it. "It 's when you know you 're licked before you begin but you begin anyways and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do" (112). Justice and the truth are two extremely important things to Atticus. “For Atticus, being a lawyer is not just a job, it’s a personal commitment to justice, and to solving problems through the law rather than through violence“ (Freedman). Although he knows he will lose the fight, he doesn’t just lie down and quit. He knows Tom Robinson is innocent and will do anything in his power to prove that to the jury as well as the people of Maycomb, no matter how ugly and hurtful their response is.
Finally, Atticus serves as an incredible role model and teacher to both his children and the community. Atticus doesn’t just talk the talk, but he most definitely walks the walk. In Maycomb County, he is known as a person who was “the same in his house as he is on the public streets” (46). Atticus is no hypocrite. He acts the exact same way in both public and private places, and doesn’t hide anything. This quality makes Atticus a highly respected man, even after the case goes down. Atticus always finds a way to do the morally correct thing, even when the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. He is an exemplary father and teaches his children to judge people based on what’s inside, not on how they look or the color of their skin by always treating Calpurnia (the Finch’s black cook) as well as all other colored people with respect. In order to teach them to be understanding and compassionate towards all human-beings he tells them, “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"
 (30). Lastly, he teaches his kids to avoid fighting and to ignore verbal abuse when he walks away from Mayella’s father after he spit and cursed at him. All in all, Atticus always finds a way to see things from a more positive perspective. He yearns for equality and shows courage at all times, both things that all the citizens of Maycomb should work for as well as raises his children with strong principles and values.
Atticus Finch is an extraordinary character that all readers of To Kill A Mockingbird can learn from. He is an understanding and active father, an honest lawyer, and good citizen. His actions are not only admired by his children and the people of Maycomb, but also real life parents, children, and lawyers today. “Atticus’s life is one that lawyers should emulate” (Phelps). Atticus symbolizes justice, courage, knowledge, and goodness; all things in which everyone should strive for.

Works Cited
Freedman, Monroe H. "Atticus Finch--Right and Wrong." Ala. L. Rev. 45 (1993): 473.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: Warner Books, 1982.
Lubet, Steven. "I. CLASSICS REVISITED: RECONSTRUCTING ATTICUS FINCH To Kill a Mockingbird. By Harper Lee. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott Company. 1960. Pp. 296." Mich. L. Rev. 97 (1999): 1339-2448.
Phelps, Teresa Godwin. "Atticus, Thomas, and the Meaning of Justice." Notre Dame Law Review 77.3 (2002): 925-936.

Cited: Freedman, Monroe H. "Atticus Finch--Right and Wrong." Ala. L. Rev. 45 (1993): 473. Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: Warner Books, 1982. Lubet, Steven. "I. CLASSICS REVISITED: RECONSTRUCTING ATTICUS FINCH To Kill a Mockingbird. By Harper Lee. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott Company. 1960. Pp. 296." Mich. L. Rev. 97 (1999): 1339-2448. Phelps, Teresa Godwin. "Atticus, Thomas, and the Meaning of Justice." Notre Dame Law Review 77.3 (2002): 925-936.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Atticus Finch

    • 331 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Atticus Finch Miss Caroline Fisher tells Scout Finch that her father does not know how to teach. Mrs. Fisher was wrong in every sense of the word. Atticus Finch was not only a teacher but an example of what he taught. I think Miss Maudie said it best when Describing Atticus, “He’s the same in his house as he is on the public streets.” (87) He was an honorable and upstanding gentleman, someone whom everyone looked up to. He teaches his children the biblical principal that all men are created…

    • 331 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Atticus Finch

    • 551 Words
    • 3 Pages

    1 The Intelligence of Atticus Finch In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch tells his daughter Scout, “‘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’” (Lee 39). Atticus is the most complex and multifaceted character in the novel. While he is an established, connected, and respected member of the town, at the same time he is a unique oddity as far as the residents of Maycomb go. His personality and role in society are clearly…

    • 551 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Atticus Finch

    • 780 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Abby Rice 11/7/14 Atticus Finch: An Honest Man & Lawyer In the 1930's in southern Alabama, rape and attempted rape was considered a capital offense. This was just one of the measures taken to ensure the safety of Southern women, who in the eyes of men, were fragile and innocent. As a result of the Ladies Law, men could even be sentenced to jail time for using profane language around a lady. This conservative culture, combined with prejudices leftover from the civil…

    • 780 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Atticus Finch

    • 254 Words
    • 2 Pages

    supposed to be compassionate and willing to fight for justice. In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch is a well respected man in the town he lives in called Maycomb County. He is a lawyer who is trying to defend a black man, who is accused of raping a white woman. This is such an important case because it is a white man against a black man in court where race is not supposed to matter. Atticus tries his hardest to make the jury believe Tom Robinson is not guilty and has done nothing wrong…

    • 254 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Atticus Finch

    • 785 Words
    • 4 Pages

    the community in Maycomb County through the eyes of a young girl named Jean Louise Finch. The main character, Atticus Finch plays an important role throughout the novel. His wisdom, words and actions help guide the town through the harsh times of prejudice and injustice. He demonstrates powerful leadership through his three different roles as a father, a lawyer and a noble citizen of the town. As a father, Atticus is a great leader in his own household. Not only does he teach his children verbally…

    • 785 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Atticus Finch

    • 682 Words
    • 3 Pages

    lives of the Finch family and other citizens in the fictional town of Maycomb in the early 1930’s. The main character is Scout (Jean Louise Finch), who is the daughter of Atticus Finch and the sister of Jem (Jeremy Atticus Finch). At a young age, Scout and Jem lost their mother. This left Atticus to raise the two children with the help from his cook, Calpurnia. However, there are many other unique characters in this novel. Yet, it is evident that none of them measure up to Atticus. Since the novel…

    • 682 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Atticus Finch is..,.

    • 404 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Atticus the Great All the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee have their own interesting characteristics, but Atticus is the most intriguing. Atticus is a generous, judgmental, and wise man. He is the foundation for Jem and Scout. Lee has a bright way of showing that Atticus is a generous man. He is respected by his kids and by mostly everyone in Maycomb County. “When Jem an‘ I fuss Atticus doesn’t ever just listen to Jem’s side of it, he hears mine too” (88). These kids learn a lot…

    • 404 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Atticus Finch

    • 403 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Atticus Finch : Role Model to All Alec Graham Period: 4 Everyone needs a role model in life, someone to teach them morals and lessons. In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch just happens to be the perfect role model for not only his own children but the entire Maycomb County. He sets examples not only as lawyer, but as a father and teaches his children the necessary morals to function as model citizens in society. Atticus was proven as a fantastic lawyer throughout the book,…

    • 403 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Atticus Finch

    • 597 Words
    • 3 Pages

    ESSAY “Atticus is a failure both as a lawyer and a father”. Discuss. Atticus instilled his morals as a lawyer deeply into his children. Teaching them respect, equality and to always to their best. Any lawyer which represents their clients with these morals is no failure. Atticus taught his children these things as he wishes for his children to grow up with respect for everyone just as he has. Atticus was not a failure as both a lawyer and parent. Atticus wants to bring his children up with…

    • 597 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Atticus Finch

    • 625 Words
    • 3 Pages

    In the story, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Atticus is one of those `ideal fathers.' Atticus is a single father raising his two children, Scout and Jem, and doing a great job too. Do you ever wish that the 'cool dads from TV' could be your own? In the story, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Atticus is one of those 'ideal fathers.' Atticus is a single father raising his two children, Scout and Jem, and doing a great job too. They also have Calpurnia, the black cook, who is the most mom-like…

    • 625 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays