To Kill a Mockingbird – Is Atticus Finch a Role Model? Essay
Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch shows great moral fibre. He is an outstanding person who is courageous and a role model to his two young children. He respects all others and he is extremely tolerant. Atticus’ morals are inspiring to his children. He stands up for what is right, no matter what the consequences may be and in the novel he is represented as a symbol of reason and justice. Atticus Finch is a role model to society.
This essay will discuss the many ways in which Atticus is shown to be a hero in the novel.
Atticus Finch does not follow what everybody else does, he believes in having an individual conscience and he tries to get his children to follow these morals. He tries to teach Jem and Scout to be fair and unbiased to everyone. He also teaches them that they should always follow their heart and not be influenced by the opinions of others.
“Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide my majority rule is a person’s conscience. ” Throughout the novel, Atticus always seems to be able to keep calm.
Even in the worst situations imaginable, Atticus stays level-headed. This marvels his children, as they find it difficult to control their anger when people provoke them by saying horrible things about their father. Jem and Scout admire their father greatly for this. Atticus sees things from every perspective and keeps an open mind. A perfect example of Atticus’ level-headedness is when Bob Ewell spits in his face. “Mr Bob Ewell spat Atticus in his face, and told him he’d get him if it took the rest of his life. ‘I wish – Bob Ewell didn’t chew tobacco,’ was all Atticus said about it. When this occurs, Atticus simply walks away from Bob Ewell and in the meantime teaches his children a valuable lesson. Never get caught up in the heat of the moment. “No matter what anybody says to you, don’t let them get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change” Atticus teaches respect for many different people in this novel. He teaches his children about respect by allowing them to live their life how they want to live it. Jem and Scout look up to Atticus and plan on following in his footsteps. He teaches them that they must never judge a person just by what they look like or what they do. 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. ” Atticus devotes himself to his children despite criticism from family and neighbours who think Scout and Jem lack discipline and proper guidance. Atticus allows them to discover themselves by letting them have freedom, not worrying what others say about his parenting. Atticus allows Scout to voice her opinions and she soon recognises the injustice in which her elders live by.
As seen when she confronts the mob at the jail. “So it took an eight-year-old child to bring ‘em to their senses” said Atticus. “That proves something – that a gang of wild animals can be stopped, simply because they’re still human. Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children. ” Atticus made Jem read to Mrs Dubose after he destroyed her garden, and soon after her death he discovered she was suffering from a morphine addiction. This really shaped Jem’s character. Every single day, Atticus Finch teaches Jem, Scout and even others around him, about respect.
He proves everyone should be treated the same whether they’re poor, rich, black, or white; everyone has the right be to be treated respectfully. He is there for his kids no matter what happens in life. How they want to live, is how he wants to live. He teaches them right from wrong, but he doesn’t deny them from sharing the facts. Scout sees an example of courage in her father when he shoots the mad dog. Although Atticus did not think of it as very courageous, Jem and Scout were proud of their father and the courage he showed in the situation.
He was not trying to prove anything, yet they were still impressed. “Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing 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. ” Atticus demonstrates courage when he undertakes the task of defending Tom Robinson, a black man wrongly accused of rape. Atticus knows he won’t win the case and like Mrs Dubose in her battle against morphine, he is “licked” before he begins. Nevertheless, Atticus knows that Tom is innocent and that he must fight for him, since no one else will.
Atticus’s strong sense of morality and justice motivates him to defend Tom with vigour and determination, giving it all he’s got with one mission in mind. He wants the people of Maycomb town, whether they believe it or not, to hear the truth about Tom, “That boy might go to the chair, but he’s not going till the truth’s told” Atticus is a symbol of reason and justice throughout this novel. His stern but fair attitude toward Jem and Scout reaches into the courtroom as well. He politely proves that Bob Ewell is a liar; he respectfully questions Mayella about her role in Tom’s crisis.
One of the things that Miss Maudie admires about him is that “Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets”. The only time he seriously lectures his children is on the evils of taking advantage of those less fortunate or less educated, a philosophy he carries into the animal world by his refusal to hunt. And although most of the town readily pins the label “trash” on other people, Atticus reserves that distinction for those people who unfairly exploit others. Atticus believes in justice and the justice system. He doesn’t like criminal law, yet he accepts the appointment to Tom Robinson’s case.
He knows before he begins that he’s going to lose this case, but that doesn’t stop him from giving Tom the strongest defence he possibly can. And, importantly, Atticus doesn’t put so much effort into Tom’s case because he’s an African American, but because he is innocent. Atticus Finch represents courage, bravery, fairness, equality and justice. He doesn’t follow the crowd, he dares to be different and do the right thing for himself and his children. He is a symbolic character and is a role model to society. Whether it is in the Maycomb society or the society we live in today, Atticus Finch is a hero.