Atticus as an Example of a Good Father and Lawyer: Is Atticus a Good Father
In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch demonstrates the traits of a brave gentleman and a heroic role model. At the beginning of the novel, Atticus’ character is respected and admired by most of the town, and by the end, even after losing the trial, the town still looks up to him and so do his kids. Atticus Finch is a good, committed father, a morally upright lawyer, and overall an honorable and courageous man. A character trait that makes Atticus such a good role model is the fact that he is an incredible father. Throughout the novel, we see Atticus raising Jem and Scout as a single parent with the help of Calpurnia and doing a very well at it. Instead of hitting his kids to discipline them like most parents in Maycomb did, Atticus chooses to remain calm and compromises with them. He teaches his children to be polite to each other and respect others. In addition, instead of lying to his kids or sugar coating every bad thing, Atticus explains the harsh truth to them and helps them understand complex ‘adult’ matters, especially Scout. At one point, Atticus tries to explain racism and at another, he briefly tires explains rape. Furthermore, Atticus also teaches Scout how to read at an early age, and he also urges his children to try to understand people rather than judge them as shown in this quote: “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” (39). It is clear that Atticus is a good father because he is trying to teach Jem and Scout these important things so that when they go out into the world, they’ll be prepared. Because he is an amazing father figure, Jem and Scout turn out to be similar to Atticus in their own way which is a good thing. Even though he lost the case and Tom ends up being killed, Atticus is still did everything he could to do what he believed was right, which makes him a morally upright lawyer. Long before the case even started, Atticus Finch knew for a fact that he would lose. He saw it coming miles ahead yet still choose to take it head on and fight hard. This is because he knew that Tom Robinson is being wrongly convicted of raping Mayella Ewell. He knew that Tom was innocent so he chooses to help him. Although Judge Taylor made Atticus take this case, that is not the real reason why he takes it. Atticus takes this case because he believes everyone deserves a fair chance, therefore even if judge Taylor never appointed him to Tom’s case, he would have taken it anyway. Atticus knows that what he did was the right thing, no matter what anyone said and no matter how much hate he got from it. Another thing is that he is actually really good at his job. Part of him being a good lawyer is his morality, but another is that he is an expert with what he does. An example of this would be when Atticus is in court during the trial, and while Mr. Gilmer has a book and some tablets on his desk, Atticus’ table is empty; “There was a brown book and some yellow tablets on the solicitor’s table; Atticus’ was bare.” (219).
Atticus not having anything on his table shows that he is well prepared for the trial and is very confident, meaning he does not need any notes to read off of or refer back to because he already knows it all. This shows us that he is an expert at what he does. Atticus Finch is spoken highly of around the town of Maycomb, and this is because he is an honorable and courageous man. From the very beginning of the novel, Atticus is looked up to and trusted by many people by. This is because he is has done right by everyone from the get-go. For example, even though Calpurnia is African-American and is looked down upon by others, Atticus still stands by her and trusts her with his own kids. His own sister, Alexandra, says that she is a better influence for Scout rather than Calpurnia and wants her fired, but still, he defends Calpurnia by saying that she is “a faithful member of this family and you’ll simply have to accept things the way they are” (182). In addition, Atticus is also an honorable man because of the way he treats the Cunninghams. Because Mr. Cunningham in one of Atticus’ clients, he is required to pay for his services, but unfortunately, the Cunninghams are very poor and cannot pay in cash. One evening, Mr.Cunningham tells Atticus, “Mr.Finch, I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to pay you“, to which Atticus replies, “Let that be the least of your worries, Walter” (27).
Luckily, Atticus was nice enough to let the Cunninghams pay in a different form. Instead, throughout the year, the Cunninghams dropped other things off at the Finch house, such as stovewood, hickory nuts, smilax, and holly, etc., as a form of payment. Many people would not have done what Atticus did, which makes it all the more special. Lastly, Atticus has a lot of courage because he went alone at nighttime to defend Tom and stood up to the entire mob when they tried to attack. Furthermore, Atticus choose to defend a man that has absolutely no chance of winning in trial. For these reasons, Atticus is a respected man and highly thought of. In conclusion, Atticus Finch is a fearless man of honor, with integrity and good moral. This is shown throughout the novel as he portrays what it is to be an admirable father, an exceptional lawyer, and a perfect citizen. As a lawyer, a father, and a citizen, Atticus sets a very good example for what men and women in today’s society should aspire to be. People should strive to be as great as Atticus because he is the only person in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird to have enough courage to defend a black man during the 1930s, where segregation was still thriving. If that does not scream heroic, nothing else does.
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