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To Kill a Mockingbird - Character Analysis

By bignerds Jun 28, 2008 694 Words
After reading Harper Lee's novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, I was particularly drawn toward one protagonist in particular that to me portrays a model for all mankind; that character is Atticus. His morals are his defining feature and to his children, he is a valuable teacher.

Despite the novel's lack of Atticus' physical description, his attitude displays that he is a person he would always do his best to look clean and respectable. From his attitude you the reader discover that he is a person who is always courteous to everyone around him, despite skin color or shortcomings. He is a very wise and understanding man who always does his best to view the situation from another perspective. He does his best in every way to be a good father and a good lawyer, and tries to pass on his polite and considerate ways to his children, Scout and Jem. He does what he feels in his heart is right and he stands strong, even in the face of strong opposition. Atticus never hated anyone; his mercy is one of the only real traits about him that was exposed during the book. He was a very passive, yet emotional man who had feelings and beliefs that he stuck by no matter what. He always seems to know what to say and exactly how to say it.

Atticus grew up on Finch's Landing in Maycomb, Alabama; but went off to Montgomery to study law. Once he was admitted to the bar he returned to Maycomb and began his practice. He was married to his wife and in their first year of marriage had a son, Jem. Four years later Scout was born. Two years after that their mother, Atticus' wife, died of a sudden heart attack. From that point (I suspect) Calpurnia took over many of the household chores and helped the children while Atticus was working. "He liked Maycomb, he was Maycomb County born and bred; he knew his people, they knew him". He loved Maycomb and he loved its people, even though many of them had different points of view than his own.

Atticus always fought for justice and what was right. Through his eyes everyone was equal. He points out the importance of equality and tries especially to pass this on to his children. He cares very much for Scout and Jem and tries to raise them not to judge other people. He loved them very much and they loved him. He tried to treat them as adults and always told them the truth. He tried to be the best father he can be, despite his age. He taught them what was wrong, as well as what was right.

Atticus was appointed by the court to defend Tom Robinson, a Negro falsely accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. Atticus went up against what seemed like the impossible. He ignored the criticism and insults that were inflicted upon him and his children. By defending a colored man he broke a major code in Maycomb society, and was derided because of it. Even though white people satirized him, Atticus still did his best to defend Tom Robinson. At the trial, Atticus shows the evidence that Tom is innocent and points out the importance of equality, even though the jury seemed not to pay much attention. He was very determined in his idea that Tom was innocent and simply wanted to express his convictions that race determines little about a person in terms of their beliefs and values.

Atticus' character remains almost completely static throughout the entire novel. Even though things didn't turn out the way he would have liked I'm sure he still would have the same faith in people, black or white, that he did before the whole incident occurred.

I conclude my analysis of Atticus, a strong minded, good-willed lawyer and father, with this quote I found while surfing the net:
"Atticus used his wisdom and beliefs to help, not harm, those lost in the mist, A mist that blanketed his small Southern town,
A plague of bigotry that dragged the people down."
-Anonymous

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