In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird, Atticus Finch possesses many characteristics that shape him as a man, a lawyer and a father. Atticus is a wise man, devoted to justice and equality, and who feels it is his duty to live his public life as he does his private life. Atticus is also a very honest and loving father who has nothing but the best intentions for his children, Scout and Jem. Atticus is devoted to putting his legal profession before his self-image, or public perception, and is able to realize that the individual worth of a man without incorporating physical appearances.
All the positive characteristics Atticus Finch possesses contribute to the reason why he is very respected and liked by most of the people of Macomb County as well as his family and close friends. Atticus living his public life as he does his private life defines what he stands for and holds a duty he feels is important for him to fulfill as a man. When Atticus and Sherriff Heck Tate discuss what caused Bob Ewell’s death the night he attacked Jem and Scout, the Sheriff tells Atticus that Bob killed himself when he fell on his knife.
However, Atticus does not believe Heck and he believes that Jem killed Bob and tells Heck Tate “If they [Scout and Jem] hear me saying downtown something different happened-Heck I wont have them anymore. I cant live one way in town and another way in my home. ”(367) This quote shows Atticus is willing and devoted to make any sacrifice to live an honest and unconcealed life including letting the public know, Jem killed Bob Ewell.
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Atticus always tries to be the best father he can by trying to get his kids to notice and appreciate all of the good things that are present in the world even in such a prejudice and discriminatory town such as Maycomb during the 1930’s. When Atticus and Jem are talking about the recently deceased Mrs. Dubose, Atticus tells Jem. “Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It is 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. ”(149) By telling this to Jem Atticus taught Jem an important life lesson.
He taught Jem success is not always about winning, but instead just trying to fight for a good cause. Atticus believed you were successful if you fought for a good cause, even if you failed. Atticus is committed to always doing the right thing when it comes to his profession whether it means he will be risking his reputation or even his life. This trait of Atticus is clearly demonstrated when Scout questions Atticus about the Tom Robinson case and says, “Atticus, are we going to win it” and he replies “No, honey” which leads to her question “Then why-” (101).
Atticus is revealing to Scout that even though he has more to lose than to gain out of this situation he is accepting of that because he is doing what his conscience is telling him is the noble, fair thing to do, and he is trying to ignore all the negative influences that appears to him in Maycomb County. This is also revealed when Atticus is protecting Tom from a group of dangerous men who are looking for revenge outside the jail. Atticus holds them off and risks his own safety to protect Tom because he knew Tom did not deserve what those men outside the jail were looking to do to him that night. Atticus is a humble, honest and devoted man.
He is one of the few people in society who puts the needs of others before himself. By sharing the characteristics he acquired over many years with his children he is supporting them with the foundation to living a morally good life according to the standards of what they believe is right and wrong and not what it is made out to be by society. By sharing his knowledge and skills as a lawyer with those who are wrongfully convicted he is establishing justice in those parts in which justice seems not to exist. Atticus Finch is a man of good moral who sets a perfect example for those who are looking for a role model, a hero, and a loving father.
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