Atticus Finch – Role Model in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird


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A role model is a worthy person who is a good example for other people. A role model can also be defined as a person, who another individual patterns his or her behaviour in a particular social role, including adopting appropriate similar attitudes. Role models do not need to be known personally to the individual: role models can be relations, legends, celebrities and fictitious characters. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch, the protagonist is a role model. He is a caring neighbour an understanding father and an honorable lawyer.

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Atticus Finch is a role model to his children, Jem and Scout because they see him as a caring neighbour. Atticus shows generosity to his client and neighbour Mr. Cunningham, Walter cannot come up with the money to pay him for his service, Atticus accepts payment in vegetables and other things with no hesitation, even willing to accept nothing at all. When Walter Cunningham said “Mr. Finch, I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to pay you.” Atticus replied “Let that be the least of your worries, Walter.” (Lee 27). Atticus also shows himself as a caring neighbour, after he lost his case the African-American community stood up for him as he left the court room. The next morning Atticus was thanked by a lot of people, his back steps were filled with gifts and food. Atticus seeing this he was full of tears and gratitude but knowing that times were tough because it was the great depression he said “Tell them I’m grateful” “Tell them-tell them they must never do this again. Times are too hard…” (Lee 286). This reaction shows that Atticus understands their appreciation but also knows that it is really though and every penny counts, he does not think it is fair for them to take care of their family and they should not bother spending their money for him. Thus it is manifest that Atticus cares about his neighbours and as a result is a good role model to his children Scout and Jem.

A second reason Atticus is contemplated as a role model is because he is an understanding father. After Scout’s first day of school she was upset because her Grade one teacher had told he she was too young to be able to read and write, her teacher was able to convince Scout that it was wrong to read and write at her age and her teacher Miss Caroline told Scout that her father was teaching her the wrong things and she should stop. Scout came back from her first the feeling upset, Atticus knowing that his daughter was upset asked her what was wrong. He understood scout and as compromise with her saying “if you’ll concede the necessity of going to school, well go on reading every night just as we always have. Is it a bargain?”(Lee42). Scout agreed with her father and they continued their usual reading. This shows Atticus as a caring father, Atticus knows how much Scout loves to read and how happy reading makes her, and so Atticus continues the reading to keep his daughter happy. Another incident where Atticus Finch shows himself as an understanding father is when he confronts his children after he had accepted the Tom Robinson case scout and Jem were very inquisitive about the controversial case and why Atticus had accepted it then he said to them

“Because I could never ask you to mind me again … You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change … it’s a good one, even if it does resist learning.“ (Lee 101)

This tells the reader that Atticus understands what his children are about to go through

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