To Kill A Mockingbird Study Guide

Atticus Finch

The voice of reason in the town of Maycomb and in the novel. Atticus dispels the wisdom and logic that is the core of the novel. He is a man that goes beyond the word tolerance; tolerance is merely to put up with something. Atticus looks at everyone and tries to understand who they are and where they are coming from. And he quietly and subtly passes on wisdom to his children about taboo subjects like racism.

Atticus is also a consistent man. People say that he is the same in the courtroom as he is on the streets. The code of conduct that he maintains for himself remains the same no matter what situation he is placed in. That is why he feels he is responsible to take Tom Robinson's case and defend him to the best of his abilities. If he didn't, he would see himself as a hypocrite.

Although Atticus seems mellow and even old-fashioned, many of his beliefs are quite revolutionary. He allows Calpurnia to truly be a member of his family. He gives her full respect and fair treatment at all times. When Cal takes his children to her church, he seems unaffected. It is all part of his consistent code of conduct.

At times, Atticus may almost seem a caricature of goodness. Never once does he falter or think ill of people. But in Harper Lee's capable hands, Atticus seems believable and true.

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