To Kill a Mockingbird
Atticus Finch
Themes and Setting
The Trial

Atticus Finch

To Kill a Mockingbird



"First of all," he said, "if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. 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."


"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. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what."


"This case, Tom Robinson's case, is something that goes to the essence of a man's conscience-Scout, I couldn't go to church and worship God if I didn't try to help that man."


"So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I'd rather it be me than that houseful of children out there."


"As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it-whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash."

Not everything is as it seems

Atticus is Jem and Scout's father. He is a lawyer and a very moral man. He always tries to treat everyone fairly and equally, even the blacks. Atticus is generally optimistic.
He was fifteen years older than his wife. His wife died when Scout was two, and Jem was six. Scout thinks her father is feeble. He cannot be tackled in a game of football, but he can play checkers better than anyone in town. He can also play a Jews Harp, which Scout is at first ashamed of, but Miss Maudie teaches Scout that he can do something that most people can't, which makes it a positive.
When a rapid dog, Tim, comes around to their street, the sheriff throws the gun to Atticus, and Scout described her father as basically becoming one with the gun. He hit the dog in one shot and Scout is amazed. She thinks that his shooting is an amazing talent and took courage, but Atticus tries to teach them both that real courage could be found in Mrs. Dubose.
He has a younger brother, named Uncle Jack. He went to study medicine in Boston. Atticus is ten years older than Uncle Jack. Atticus told Uncle Jack to buy Scout and Jem air guns because he knows that they will eventually be given one and taught how to shoot anyway. He warns Jem and Scout never to shoot a mockingbird because it is a sin.
Atticus went to Montgomery to study law and is a lawyer.
He is the defendant of Tom Robinson during the trial. He loses the case, as he knew he would, because Tom was black and the town was completely anti-black. Although he lost, Atticus told his children that he was proud that the jury took so long (because of Walter Cunningham) to decide if he was guilty or innocent. He thought of it as a step towards the end of the racism. He thinks that it's necessary to follow that rule of being consistent and feels that if he did not try to help Tom Robinson, he could be a hypocrite.
During the trial, Miss Maudie commented that he was the same on the streets as in the courtroom.

When Atticus is Confronted by the Mob

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