TALONS English 10
Atticus Finch is the “Hero” of “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
Atticus Finch exhibits hero-like qualities with his family, in the community and in society.
Every book needs a hero. A hero is put in place to contrast the evils and to give the reader someone a role model. In “To Kill a Mockingbird“, Atticus Finch is that hero. A comic hero can fly, jump into burning buildings and beat up crooks. But a realistic hero is different. A real hero acts with kindness towards all and is a lighthouse in the stormy sea of society
As a father, Atticus Finch is a strong source for good values and a one way ticket to a good upbringing. Scout and Jem Finch both listen with respect, any and every time Atticus opens his mouth.
“‘First of all,’ he said, ‘If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. 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.'” Page 30
Looking at the second passage of the above quote; “Sir?”, we can see that Atticus stops talking for a moment, and Scout politely lets him know that she is listening and ready to learn what Atticus is trying to teach her. The below quote is Scout remembering what Atticus told her and acting upon it, showing that truly does care about what Atticus is telling her.
“As Atticus once advised me to do, I tried to climb into Jem’s skin and walk around in it[…]”
Atticus does an excellent job of helping his children to grow up in their current circumstance. Scout and Jem were raised primarily by Calpurnia, because their mother died when Scout was one year old. Atticus works as a lawyer for the better part of the weekdays. Without a mother, Scout and Jem are left to their own devices. Atticus remedies this by keeping the lines of communications open. By letting his children call him “Atticus”, he lets them know that he is willing to be their equals, as long as they respect him. As long as Jem and Scout are comfortable talking to Atticus like an equal, it will be easier for them to resolve internal and external issues.
In public, Atticus acts as a role model for the citizens of Maycomb.
“When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don’t make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles ’em.”
In the above quote, Atticus is talking to his neighbours about speaking to children. The neighbours were speaking to the children about Ms. Dubose. The children were getting overly confused, when Atticus walks up and lets them know that the children are grown up to hear it. Atticus believes that it is easier to tell children the truth than to let them make up their own suspicions; children making suspicions almost always worse for them than knowing the truth.
“[…]She was a morphine addict[…][…]You mean that’s what her fits were?[…][…]Yes, that’s what they were. Most of the time you were reading to her I doubt she heard a word you said. Her whole mind and body were concentrated on that alarm clock. If you hadn’t fallen into her hands, i’d have made you gone and read to her anyway. It may have been some distraction.[…]”
The above passage is Atticus describing Ms. Dubose’s morphine addiction to Jem. Jem wrecked Ms. Dubose’s flowers, so Scout and Jem had to go read to Ms. Dubose for a month. What they did not know, is that they were helping Ms. Dubose to overcome her morphine addiction. Atticus was sending them there so Ms. Dubose could die without being addicted to morphine. By helping Ms. Dubose die in peace, Atticus is showing the community that he cares about all the members, young or old.
In the community, Atticus tries to break the wall of racism and discrimination. As a lawyer, Atticus fights for all races equally, no matter how bleak the outcome.
“Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing 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.”
The above quote is Atticus talking about Tom Robinson’s upcoming trial. He is saying that he does not think he has a good chance of winning, but that he will try his hardest regardless.
“‘The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place. It has relied instead upon the testimony of two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross-examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is.'”
The line above is spoken in Tom Robinson’s trial, by Atticus. Atticus does two things here. He politely points out that the evidence the plaintiff is providing is not adequate, and he tries to stifle anger from society. “ The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is.'” With this line, he tells the jury that Tom Robinson is not to blame, but someone else is. Notice the “somebody” in the quote. He does not specifically say that Tom Ewell committed the crime, so that some tension will be avoided in the courtroom. By removing the tension, he gives Tom Robinson’s case a better chance of being proven not guilty and improves the relationships between the people of Maycomb.
Atticus Finch doesn’t shoot lasers from his eye, fly or wear a cape. Atticus Finch is a hero because he exemplifies extraordinary behavior in regard to his children, his residential community and society as a whole.