Father of Jem and Scout,
Atticus Finch sits on the Alabama State Legislature and acts as
Maycomb's leading attorney. The epitome of moral character, Atticus
teaches his children and his community how to stand up for one's
beliefs in the face of prejudice and ignorance by defending a black
man, Tom Robinson, wrongfully accused of raping a white woman. The
voice of reason in the town of Maycomb and in the novel, Atticus
dispels the wisdom and logic that is the core of the novel. He is
a man that goes beyond the word tolerance; tolerance is merely to
put up with something. Atticus looks at everyone and tries to understand
who they are and where they are coming from. And he quietly and
subtly passes on wisdom to his children about taboo subjects like
Having lost his wife when Scout was two years old,
Atticus devotes himself to his children despite criticism from family
and neighbours who think his children lack discipline and proper
He is looked up to by his family and his friends
who "trust him to do right". Atticus Finch sets a standard
of morality that no other character in the book comes close to matching.
Atticus is a studious man whose behaviour is governed by reason.
Once he decides that a given course of action is right, he perseveres
regardless of threats or criticisms. But Atticus is not a crusader.
He does not go looking for causes to champion. The Tom Robinson
case was not one he volunteered to handle- the judge assigned him
the case because he felt Atticus would do his best to win. Atticus's
desire to avoid conflict when possible is another quality that the
author obviously wants us to admire. Atticus stands as one of literature's
strongest and most positive father figures.
Although Atticus seems mellow and even old-fashioned,
many of his beliefs are quite revolutionary. He allows Calpurnia
to truly be a member of his family. He gives her full respect and
fair treatment at all times. When Cal takes his children to her
church, he seems unaffected. It is all part of his consistent code
At times, Atticus may almost seem a caricature
of goodness. Never once does he falter or think ill of people. But
in Harper Lee's capable hands, Atticus seems believable and true.