Character Analysis of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird


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Protection and Prosecution

In To Kill A Mockingbird, the primary defender of the innocent is Atticus Finch. Atticus was a comforting character to some of the other characters. He also didn’t hide things from the juvenile. Atticus defended the innocent by creating a safe place for children. Lastly, Atticus was a Selfless man. He cared about the wellbeing of others. In the book there are multiple examples of each of the of the characteristics above.

Atticus Finch always did his best to comfort other characters in the book. If Atticus didn’t have to characteristics to comfort someone he would find a loophole, and do the best he could. In chapter 13 Atticus’ sister, Alexandra has come to stay with the Finch family for a while. Alexandra did not approve of a few of the customs this family had in their household, She told Atticus to tell the children to that they should live up to the Finch name. About midway through the conversation Atticus realized that he was being hypocritical and that he didn’t want to raise his kids up that way, so he made a joke about their cousin that tried to kill the president and cost the Finch family 500 dollars, in attempt to comfort Scout and Jem. Even with the motherly nurture that he lacked, Atticus still wanted to comfort the children. Another example of how Atticus was a comforting man is when Tom Robinson died. Tom had been sent to jail after the trial. At this point Tom had given up and then tried to escape. He was shot 17 times. Atticus had come home to ask Calpurnia to come with him to come tell Tom’s wife, Helen. He asked Cal to join him so that he could deliver this news in the most comfortable way possible. Atticus knew that his presence alone wouldn’t be as comfortable for Helen. Atticus maybe wasn’t the warmest or most nurturing man, but he did do everything he could to make hard situations as comfortable as possible.

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Atticus not only passed information to adults. He wanted his children to know things that some other adults did not agree with. This gives them a better view of the world and helping them prepare themselves for real life. Also, protecting them from the idea that the world perfect and fair, so when they are exposed to it they won’t be disappointed by what they thought the world was like. If they asked him a question about something, he told them. Atticus told the children things that other adults may be uncomfortable telling children. In chapter nine, Scout had gotten into a fight with her her cousin francis, and she called him a ‘whore-lady’ and started to beat on him. After this altercation Scout asked her uncle Jack what a ‘whore-lady’ was. When Jack told Atticus that he didn’t tell her what it was he was frustrated. Atticus didn’t want to hide things from the children, even if they are difficult things to understand. When Cecil Jacobs harassed Scout about her father being a ‘nigger-lover’, she asked her father what he was talking about. She asked her father what he was talking about. He explained to her that he was Tom Robinson’s defense attorney for an upcoming trial. Atticus didn’t hide anything from his children if it wouldn’t hurt them. Telling his children how the real world truly is, sets them up for success.

Apart from telling his children the truth, he made a safe space for his children and their friends. For example, Scout’s first day of school was rough. Her teacher told her to tell Atticus to stop reading with her. Then she gets yelled at for trying to protect another student. She goes to Atticus and tells him what happened. She talks about how she doesn’t want to go to school. She begs and begs Atticus not to make her go back. So Atticus makes a deal with her. They will keep reading outside of school and she will continue to go to school as she is supposed to, but she just has to pretend that she is like the other students. Further in the book Dill runs away from his new family, and comes to the Finch house. When Atticus sees Dill was obviously nervous. But Atticus just fed him and went to tell Dill’s aunt that he was there. Atticus made sure his home and presence felt safe for the children.

Along with these amazing qualities, Atticus was selfless. He protected others, whether or not he would get hurt. While explaining the case to his younger brother Jack, Atticus said that he wished that he would never have a like this one in his career. But he took it anyway. He knew that his chances of winning this case were very small, but he cared more about making sure the town of Maycomb knew what had really happened. In chapter 15 Atticus went downtown to where the Maycomb Jail where they were keeping Tom. There were men at the jail with the intention to kill Tom and Atticus knew that. He knowingly put himself in danger to protect an innocent man.

Atticus was a man of many characteristics. He was selfless, he cared about the well being of others, he made a safe place for his children and friends of his children. He also never hid the truth about the world from his children. All of these characteristics prove that Atticus was the primary defender of the innocent in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird.

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