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Character Analysis of Atticus Finch

By seshowns Mar 15, 2013 873 Words
People are judgmental everywhere you go. In every society people view themselves either about or below others. In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch experiences being the center of gossip in Maycomb, and also the center of threat to Bob Ewell.

Atticus Finch is a respectable person in Maycomb, Alabama. He has such a wise and sensible view on life. He learns from his mistakes and tries to be fair and tolerant. Not only is he a good citizen but a good parent to his children, Jeremy and Jean Louise [Scout]. He never is condescending to others and always tries to see in their point of view. "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 32). Atticus tries to explain to Scout that she cannot just judge people, for she has not seen the other persons view of the situation. Atticus tries to lead his children in the right direction and to understand what he does and why he does it. “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. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew” (Lee 149). Atticus was trying to explain the reasons for his punishments to Jem, that it had taught him a lesson and showed him the true form of courage. Atticus knows that because of the case there will be a lot of negative talk about him and his client of a different race. “As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it -- whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash” (Lee 220). He tries to guide his children to ignore this talk and see who the people that talk like this really are. How the people talk about Atticus is unfair and judgmental, for Atticus is only doing what he believes is right.

Atticus is a lawyer in Maycomb. He is assigned to defend an African American man accused of raping a white woman. When the people of Maycomb discover this the gossip begins. Many people had talked about Atticus and his case, how it was wrong and the fact that he believed, supported, and defending a person that was so “below” him, but no one more then Mrs. Dubose. “Your father is no better than the n****** and the trash he works for!” (Lee 102). Mrs. Dubose is a cruel old woman, but also a neighbor to Atticus. Although Atticus treats her with the utmost respect she continues to talk disrespectfully about his case and his family. Bob Ewell, who is the witness for the victim of the case, has a grudge against Atticus and his choices about the case. Bob Ewell simply expected Atticus to not defend Tom Robinson and not believe him even one iota. “You n***** lover” (Lee 116). Bob Ewell seems to think that Atticus has no right to defend Tom, for the possibility that Atticus might be able to prove that the victim, Mayella Ewell, is lying and that Tom Robinson had not assaulted her at all. As the case continues on so does Bob Ewell, even when the case ends Bob Ewell continues to harass Atticus. “This morning Mr. Bob Ewell stopped Atticus on the post office corner, spat in his face and told him he’d get him if it took him the rest of his life” (Lee 217). Atticus seems to abstain from fighting with Bob Ewell no matter how far he goes. Atticus is a very conservative person who sees no need to get involved with the immature Bob Ewell.

Atticus is a model citizen and also a normal person. Like everyone else he judges and criticizes but keeps it too himself. He disagrees with how the people handle their opinions. The message being to keep your hurtful opinions to yourself although, if you have helpful or kind opinion that is wise to share then do so. Atticus is a prime example of this. No matter how cruel Bob Ewell was or how strange and unusual Arthur Radely was he never even took it upon himself to judge them out loud even though others did. It had even come to the point where Atticus had defended these other characters in a way.

By reading Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus is a man who shares his opinion in a well thought out manor being the kind and understanding person he is. Humans are a judgmental species, it is our nature, Atticus Finch however refuses to be as cruel and unkind as others may be.

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