Atticus Finch Is an Exemplary Father

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Atticus Finch Pages: 6 (2244 words) Published: September 14, 2010
Atticus Finch, a lawyer and devoted father, is an intelligent man whose wisdom, consistency, and ability to see past the ill in people prove him to be a respectable and exemplary father. He teaches his children and the people of Maycomb how to stand up for one’s belief in the face of prejudice and ignorance even when faced with the possibility of being looked down upon and scorned. His personality and character is retained throughout the entire book, making him an ideal moral guide and voice of conscience. In her novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee presents the character of Atticus Finch to convey her feelings and thoughts about race, morals, and society as a mass. In the difficult times of 1930’s Alabama, the county of Maycomb is a society divided by prejudice, where racial discrimination and injustice is common. In spite of these complexities, Atticus Finch is a determined father who aims to nurture his children free of narrow-minded influences of Maycomb, but instead with the non-judgemental and tolerant concepts which he so strongly has faith in. He instils in his children his strong sense of morality and justice, aspiring for them to mature with good ethics and beliefs. As a parent, Atticus proves to divert from the Maycomb society. The general community disregard the proposals of children and considers their thoughts irrelevant. However, Atticus contradicts this principle in the way that he raises Jem and Scout. Atticus portrays the not-so-typical father, yet as he expresses his beliefs and imparts his wisdom to his two children it becomes clear that his parenting skills are exemplary. In three simple methods does Atticus bring up Jem and Scout with good morals: though education, ideal examples and communication.

Atticus plays a significant role in the education of Scout and Jem. However, the manner in which he does this is unlike any typical father – through experiences and meaningful encounters, Atticus tutors Jem and Scout to understand and consider the concealed aspects of the Maycomb community. The life lessons which he communicates to his children are exceptional teachings which cannot be found in books or schools, and are important factors of their development and understanding: “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"(33). His lessons of tolerance and open-mindedness have vital effects on the maturing of Scout and Jem, and their learning and understanding can be observed through the progression of the book. As the two children develop during the book, the reader begins to see the impact of Atticus’ advice as they begin to grow in his image. Such as observed in the early chapters when Walter Cunningham is invited to the Finch’s for lunch, Scout immediately judges Waler as lower-class, and sees it as a “wonderment” that he and Atticus can converse “together like two men” (26). Once again, in narrow-mindedness, Scout has little acceptance and lenience for his style of eating, and protests to his gravy-soaked dinner. While initially not understanding the different way of life Walter experiences, Atticus soon educates her to comprehend the struggles and difficulties which the Cunninghams must endure. Following this incident, Scout perceives the Cunninghams as ‘fine folks’ to the extent where she aspired to befriend Walter and invite him over. This impression of ‘fine folks’ differentiates from the remainder of the Maycomb society, who believe the ideal persona is based on wealth and family connections. Scout’s classification of “fine folks” is a belief she holds strongly, and defends stubbornly when contradicted by Aunt Alexandra in chapter 23. It is in this way that we can observe Atticus’s exemplary teachings and beliefs of tolerance being passed on to Scout. Atticus again teaches an important lesson of courage and seeing beyond the obvious to his children through the illness of Mrs. Dubose. By forcing...
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