"To Kill A Mockingbird" Character Review: "Both As A Father And As A Lawyer, Atticus Is A Failure."

1164 words - 5 pages

In the 1960 novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird", Harper Lee explores the concept of racism in the legal system and the upbringing of children. These notions are shown as one of the main patriarchs, Atticus Finch. He shows his children a principled path through life, and through his court case, he reinforces these philosophies. He also shows the small southern town of Maycomb what it really feels like to be a Negro. Atticus did not fail at either of these responsibilities: as a lawyer, he did not fail, and as a father, he didn't fail either. He succeeded what he set out to do, with flying colours, and taught everybody a lesson or two on how to behave.Atticus Finch is a success as a father because he has raised, with the help of Calpurnia, two healthy young children. He has helped them deal with their own emotions, and in turn, helped them stand in another person's shoes. Atticus teaches Scout (the narrator) how to be more reflective. On page 33 of the novel Atticus says: "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." In this quote, Atticus is trying to tell Scout to be more reflective in the way she acts. When Jem and Scout have finished reading to Mrs Dubose, and have just found out that she is dead, Atticus tells them what true courage is. (Page 124): "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. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew." Atticus' powerful words helped the children come to terms with the many levels of meaning in the world. He explains that things are not just in black and white, that things can be in many tints and shades. Atticus' lecture helped the children to create a more complete picture of the world surrounding them.Atticus Finch, as well as being a good father, is also an excellent lawyer. Although he lost the Tom Robinson case, he still made a very persuasive speech on the ways of the townspeople. He did the best job he could, and compelled the jury to discuss Tom's fate for over two hours. His influential address is on page 224: "The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence to the effect that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place. It has relied instead upon the testimony of two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross-examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is". These are not the words of a failed lawyer. Again, on page 225, he tells the...

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