Most heroes have capes and superhuman powers. Others are single dads who carry around a briefcase of legal papers. Most heroes save the citizens from malicious villains, but what if the evil was the people around you? Atticus Finch may seem like a simple commoner in the small town of Maycomb, but in reality, when you dig deeper, you find a true gem of a person holding a great deal of kindness, wisdom, and love. He shows you that heroes and villains can be anyone and come from anywhere in all different shapes and sizes.
Kindness can feel like a lost art in today’s world. However, in his time, Atticus Finch was worthy, amiable Samaritan. Besides constantly being there for his community and their needs and thoughts, he shows his first streak of kindness when he steps up to be Tom Robinson’s defense attorney. Even after others harshly criticized his choices, he chose to always take the higher road and still show them respect. He had this raw nature of sincerity and honesty about him that made him a very trusted individual in the community. You can see from the start of the novel where he is constantly instilling strong roots of goodwill and generosity into his kids. As Atticus Finch says in chapter three of To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
Love is a complicated thing. That is why it is a great topic for books, movie, and other literature. There has not been one person who has fully been able to explain it. However, Atticus Finch comes darn close. In just his household, he is such a caring, affectionate father. He sets aside a generous amount of time for his family and always puts them first. Outside of that, he is constantly helping and teaching his community. Prior to the trial, he was a friendly face to every family in town. He was seen as a prime role model and set an example for everyone struggling with concept of acceptance and humanity. You can see this vividly especially when Atticus emphasizes, “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens…they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,” Miss Maudie later explains to Jem and Scout. This can be seen as a symbol towards anything discriminated against or oppressed. Atticus strongly believes in leaving everyone and everything at peace with who they are.
In every chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird, there are an abundance of empowering quotes. This is a result of Atticus’s impactful wisdom that he radiates in any situation. It takes a lot of perspective and optimism to gain the maturity Atticus has achieved. He accomplishes this by flipping the script and learning how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. He never lets himself get too stuck in his own ways because he knows how much the rest of the world has to offer in knowledge. Wisdom is like an antique: pure, valuable, and irreplaceable. The wisdom Atticus spreads does not need to be spoken. He clearly shows it through his actions as well. For instance, throughout and even after the trial, the Maycomb citizens took notice of all of Atticus’s morals and actions. It made them second-guess their long-standing way of thinking. Highlighting the major themes of the novel, Atticus says, “They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
He is a defender of the people by day and a gentle, caring father by night. He spreads kindness in a contagious way, wisdom in a humble way, and new fond ideas of acceptance and love in an efficient way. Unlike conventional superheroes who are defined by their seemingly unattainable and other worldly powers, Atticus Finch displays a relatable dignity and resolve that inspires others to strive for social evolution. Ultimately, these changes are throwing valuable stones that are causing a civil rights ripple effect.
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