Atticus Finch's Portrayal In "To Kill A Mockingbird" By Harper Lee Is Far Too Idealistic. Discuss

1078 words - 4 pages

In Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" Atticus Finch was portrayed as the ideal man. This presentation of Atticus Finch is far too idealistic. Atticus never waivers from behaving perfectly, so perfectly that he exhibits no human foibles. The portrait painted of him is far too idealistic; he always acts courageously and morally, he is a model father and he has no prejudices despite that fact he lives in a time and an environment that is consumed by racism.Atticus Finch lived in a time in Southern Alabama when a system of segregation and bitter racism was enforced by law kept African Americans from achieving equality or improving themselves. White people were told that they were above black people. Atticus had no such prejudice which was unrealistic for this time. Atticus is a lawyer in Maycomb, a typical southern town where racial discrimination is the normal behaviour. "Blacks" went to different churches, there was segregated seating in the courts, where all men are meant to be equal and in every aspect of their lives they were treated as inferiors. However Atticus never succumbed to this way of thinking. When he was defending a Negro named Tom Robinson and the people in the town were threatening him for doing so Atticus never showed any sign that he doubted what he was doing. Far too idealistically he was shown to believe in the integrity of the legal system and the jury and that eventually people would see right from wrong. When Scout asks him if he is a "nigger loved" Atticus replies "I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody" (page 120). This quote shows that he believes that the blacks are his equals and that he attempts to "love" them. This attitude is so unique for that time that it is unreal.Throughout the novel Atticus shows an extreme courage that is too perfect. Numerous times he is threatened, yet he never reacts with fear. In his defense of Tom Robinson, Atticus believed in Tom's innocence and fought for his freedom. Atticus knew he wasn't going to win the case but he knew he had to perform his duty. By performing his duty he had the majority of the town threatening him and his children. Even when the crazy Bob Ewell "approached him, cursed him, spat on him and threatened to kill him" (page 239) Atticus "didn't bat an eye, just took out his handkerchief and wiped his face and stood there and let Mr. Ewell call him names." (page240). For Atticus to show no animosity towards the people who were threatening and abusing him is portraying him far too perfectly, particularly when his children become targets as well.Atticus is always moral and ethical in his behaviour. His conforming absolutely to standards of what is right and wrong is too idealistic. Through "To Kill a Mockingbird" Atticus stops Scout and Jem from doing things because they are "wrong". He allows those who cannot afford it legal service which he is paid for, not in cash, but with whatever the person can afford e.g. a sack of potatoes. Atticus' morality allows him to...

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