To Kill a Mock bird exposes the contrasting types of father figures children can have, Harper Lee created two conflicting fathers, Atticus Finch and Bob Ewell. Atticus is a man governed by a strong set of morals, a man who epitomises justice, equality and the preservation of an equal, fair judicial court system. As a father figure Atticus is exemplary, his ability to see things from other peoples points of view make him an admirable father figure for Jem and Scout. Atticus said, “If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you see things from his point of view.” This is an excellent trait, which Atticus passes on to his children; he teaches them that they shouldn’t judge another person without experiencing things in their shoes.
Another quote that shows Atticus’s excellent teachings is in chapter 23 when he says, “Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes for a minute, I destroyed his last shred of credibility at the trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, he always does. So if spittin’ on my face and threatening me saved Mayella one extra beating, that’s something I would gladly take. He had to take it out on someone and I’d rather it be me, then that household of children out there, do you understand?” This partially backs up my first point that Atticus trys to teach his children to not judge people without understanding the circumstances they are in as well as teaching them the lesser of two evils. Spitting in someone’s face and beating someone up can be classes as evils to a certain degree, but most people would class the spitting as the lesser evil.
Being a good father does not always mean pleasing your child constantly. Atticus enforces Scout stays at school despite her hatred of it. He knows that a good education is necessary for Scout and is prepared to suffer Scout’s short-term moods due to her loathing of education in return for her being a smarter intellectual in the long term.
However not all of the fathers were as dignified as Atticus. Lee also created the infamous, idle, idiotic Bob Ewell. Ewell is a spiteful, vindictive racist father. Ewell’s racism and pride are the reason Mayella accuses Tom Robinson of rape. He happily and without hesitancy lets his daughter be the centre and cause of a widely published rape case which severely tarnished her name and destroys all respect people had of her.
Ewell is spiteful towards all the Finches after the case, despite winning it Ewell is humiliated in front of all of Maycomb and left even more disliked and untrustworthy. He then proceeds to go on a bloodthirsty rampage, terrorising Tom Robinson widow, spitting in Atticus’s face, and attempting to murder Scout and Jem. This shows how Ewell is a man driven by a false self-ranked reputation.
Harper Lee created the two conflicting fathers to show us how dominate fathers are in children’s lives. Atticus shapes his children to be good, honest people with a moral compass whereas Ewell has probably emotionally crippled his children and caused them severe trauma. I think that Lee wanted to express how much fathers dictate the people we become, and how they can shape us for better or for worse.