For Atticus Finch, most things are “as simple as black and white”. In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, there is one character that is able to make an impact on his children and both types of society. Atticus is a single parent who tries very hard to make everybody he interacts with satisfied. An example of this is; that he represents the rational man in a world of highly emotional people. Atticus is a stable and mature figure who is able to cope with the unreasonable and highly emotional element of the town. He can handle the prejudiced white people and still deal justly with the underprivileged Negro population.
“I do my best to love everybody”
The situations that Atticus has balance during the novel include his role in society, justice and parenthood. Harper Lee displays Atticus as a man who always tries his best whether in a hopeless cause; the Tom Robinson Case or when the odds are stacked against him.
One of the main factors that make Atticus the main character in the novel is in the way in which all three of his roles are linked. For example, the children have to deal with taunts and abuse from school friends about Atticus defending a black man, calling him “a nigger lover.” The children don’t understand this and Atticus has to explain the term to them.
Atticus tries to teach his children the right path in life, and also how society can be very different to how they see it. One of the methods he uses to guide his children is when he sends Jem to Mrs Dubose’s house to read to her, Jem believes this to be a punishment but doesn’t find out the truth until later in the novel.
“I wanted you to see what real courage is instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.”
Through Atticus, Harper Lee shows a person who many people can relate too; a single parent who has to juggle his home life with his working life. He teaches Scout the way he believes to be right, and on time when Scout feels unhappy with her situation at school, Atticus explains to her that she has a lot to learn. At the beginning Atticus tells Scout,
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”.
She then realises that Mrs. Caroline did not know Maycomb, and could not just learn it in one day. Scout comes to terms that it was wrong to become upset with Mrs. Caroline.
Atticus is also a fair lawyer that trusts his clients to pay him eventually, even if they cannot the moment his services are performed. When Atticus renders legal services for Walter Cunningham, “he is repaid with goods such as firewood and nuts instead of cash.” Atticus Finch is a man who has values of dignity, integrity and determination, and once again this is an example of him trying to help those who are less fortunate than him.
Not many people think that if you lose a battle then you were not successful. Atticus did not think this; he believed that being successful was only to try to do something for a good cause. He once said that as long as you try you will always be appreciated and will always be successful in his point of view. Even if you lose what you were fighting for, you are still successful because you tried for what you thought was right. Atticus did not win the case with tom Robinson but he still believed that he was successful. Atticus was successful because he did what he thought was right, and doing that had to help something out in a good way.
Atticus fought in a court case for a black man. In this time blacks were strongly impacted from racism. Atticus is a strong man for doing such a thing. He knew that he had no chance in this case yet he tried to win the case anyhow. Atticus Finch was a man who fought for what he believed in.
Two nights before the trial is to start, a group of men come to the Finch house to tell Atticus about threats against Tom Robinson’s life. Atticus spends the next night camped out at the jail to defend Tom from the mob. Jem, Scout and Dill go downtown to check on Atticus and arrive at the same time as a group of men, who have come to kill Tom. Scout recognises one of the men in the group as Walter Cunningham. Her friendliness embarrasses the man so much that he and the mob leave.
The title of the book, To Kill a Mockingbird is a key to some themes in the novel. The title is first explained in Chapter 10 at the time that Jem and Scout have just received air rifles for Christmas. Atticus tells his children that it; “is a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
Later Miss Maudie explains that Atticus meant that Mockingbirds are harmless creatures who do nothing but sing for enjoyment. This is once again an example of how Atticus tries to teach his children, and even though he doesn’t agree with violence, he buys the rifles for his children, knowing it’s what they wanted.
Another part of Atticus’ persona includes his ability to perform under pressure. During the trial, Scout says that Atticus makes the trial boring, but Atticus is tranquil and composed in his approach to the trial.
“Atticus was proceeding amiably…With his infinite capacity for calming turbulent seas, he could make a rape case as dry as a sermon.”
Through Atticus, the author displays the one person who can be level-headed throughout and despite all the pressure he is under, and the abuse he has had to put up with; he can still fight to the end for what he believes to be right.