Atticus Finch – Character Analysis

Atticus is the leading character in Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’.He is an American lawyer, who lives in Maycomb, Alabama. He is the widowed father of Jem and Scout Finch. Atticus is a tall, middle-aged man with glasses and hair that is going a little grey. He is one of the most prominent citizens in the city of Alabama and is portrayed as a towering symbol of morality, courage and wisdom.

Atticus has widespread intelligence and wisdom. He is respected both professionally and personally by everyone. He not only gets respected but also gives respect to every individual without considering their age, position or skin colour. He acts as the moral backbone of the society, a person to whom others turn in times of doubt and trouble. He is a kind, fair but stern man, who treats everyone with at most respect. He is a compassionate human, which allows him to sympathise and forgive readily. He tries to instil these traits into his children and set an example for them to follow. He acts as a teacher to his children and teaches them morals and values and tries to shape them into mature young adults. He teaches his children to be empathetic and kind. He also teaches that it is wrong to harm an innocent being. “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit them, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” By saying so he implied that. He is the voice of reason that make them and scout think. His parenting style is unique, where he honestly answers any questions his children have. He used even the small instances as an opportunity to pass his values and ideologies onto Scout and Jem and Finch. He is a very influential role model in his children’s lives.

Atticus is a successful lawyer. He is a man of conscience who strongly believe in justice and the Justice System. He believes that courts are created equal and all should be treated as equal. He believes that the justice system should turn a blind eye towards skin colour so that equal treatment of all individual is assured. He doesn’t like criminal law, but he accepts the appointment to Tom Robbinson’s case. Atticus appears as the defence lawyer for a black man, Tom Robbinson, who is accused of raping a young white woman. He knew that he will lose this case since prejudice is common in Maycomb. But this does not hinder him from trying his best and doing what he thinks is right. He worked diligently to give Tom Robbinson the strongest defence he can.

Atticus knew that defending a black man will cause some issues in the public and it will lower his reputation in the eyes of others, but he doesn’t care about that. He doesn’t care about the fact that he is vulnerable to attack. He chooses to face these hardships because he wants to see real social justice in the community. He fights for justice and he is brave. He is the bravest Eric in the entire book.

‘Justice’ is the only thing Atticus care about. He doesn’t care that he wouldn’t be able to hold his head up in town if he appears for a black man. He doesn’t care about the skin colour of the people. He doesn’t care what others may think. He thinks only about how Justice to be delivered. When Bob Ewell spits on his face, yells at him, screams at him and does all these stuff, Atticus doesn’t say a word. He just simply wipes his face and walks away. This shows that he doesn’t care about what others are saying. What he cares about is only justice. He knows he will be maligned and hurt and will be called a ‘black lover’. He tells scout that, that is exactly what he is -he loves all people. He doesn’t care about skin colour or anything. He only cares about people and justice to all people.

Through Atticus Finch, Harper Lee shows a way to fight racism. Atticus wants to end racism and he sees that the fight for justice is innately tied with his duty as a human being and as a lawyer. He knows that racism is not a battle, that can be fought and won overnight. But he fights anyway because he wants to contribute his maximum to end the racism.

One of the good qualities in Atticus Finch is that he is least infected by prejudices. Calpurnia, a black woman is the home nurse or nanny for his children. He has no problem with his children attending Calpurnia’s church, or a black woman raising his children. Instead, he believes that Calpurnia has plenty of potentials to raise his children, and he actually defends that to his sister who comes over and she thinks that the kids are being raised wrongly. Atticus admonishes Scout not to use racial slurs and is careful to always use the terms acceptable for his time and culture. There are some examples also. Atticus, a white man spends time with the black community. He goes to Tom’s house to inform his family about his death. No other man in the country will do so. So Atticus is unaffected by prejudices and he does what he thinks is right. He is consistent with his beliefs and true to his conscience.

Another good quality of Atticus is his integrity. He always remains true to his conscience, beliefs and his values even if it’s against those of society. He is the same in his house as well as in public. Atticus is characterised by a strong sense of empathy. He thinks that everyone should be heard and everyone should get the chance to be understood. He believes that one should think from another person’s perspective, then only one can understand the exact situation. Atticus once told Scout that she can’t consider anything about people to judge them at all until, she is put on their skin and walked around a little bit. It implies Atticus’s opinion of thinking from others perspective.

Atticus is a humble and courteous man which make him appealing. He addresses every person with great respect and never forgets his manner even with the most unpleasant people. He lives with great dignity. He is a humble man, who never boast about his talents. He is the best shooter in the country but does not say a word about it. Atticus is a pleasant gentleman and everyone enjoys his company.

Atticus Finch is a true hero. Because a true hero is someone who always follows his principles or morals, no matter what happens. A true hero is someone who always does what he thinks is right, without caring about others objections. So Atticus is also a true hero as he stands on his morals and ideologies, throughout the story. He decided and to stand with Tom Robbinson and stands with him even he knew that most probably he will lose. Atticus is not only the symbol of moral courage but also that of a genuine and true man. He symbolises a great father who treats his children fairly and like his equals rather than his children. He is a perfect example of an honest, empathetic parent who treats his children fairly and as his equals, rather than his children. He is determined to teach his children the moral values of life. He always tries to give true answers to his children’s question, even if they are problematic; and by doing so he earns the trust and confidence of his children. By teaching them the morals and principles of life Atticus acts as the voice of reason Jem and Scout Finch think.

Atticus Finch is the epitome of what the novel teaches. He will be one of the greatest lawyers and parents from the literary characters of all time. He set an example to all human beings, by living in his own truthful way. He is endowed with virtues like honesty, righteousness, politeness, courage, and empathy. He is a responsible father, a professional lawyer, and a morally upright individual, who actively upholds his own morals against the racism and prejudice in the county. Through his acts and views, Atticus gains an unalterable position in the heart of the readers.


To kill a mocking bird(1960)  Harper Lee 50th-anniversary edition Arrow books, Penguin Random House, London

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