Essay, Research Paper
Show Atticus is a role model as a father, a lawyer and a person.
Everybody needs a role model to look up to. This person teaches morals and lessons to life. Atticus Finch is a perfect example of a role model in every way of his person: as a lawyer, as a father and as a person in general. Throughout Harper Lee s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, there are so many examples of this that they fill this masterpiece with lessons to be learned and morals that one should live by.
Firstly, Atticus proved himself to be a good lawyer. He was so competent and able in his work that all the people in Maycomb County would consult him on the writing of their Last Will and Testament. Well, he can make somebody s will so airtight can t nobody meddle with it, Miss Maudie told Jem and Scout. (95) Also, Atticus was extremely good at cross-examining witnesses. He had what could almost be called a sixth sense when it involved judging a person s character and deciding whether or not that person is lying. During Tom Robinson s trial, Atticus knew that the Ewells were lying and he brought out the circumstantial evidence to indicate this; therefore proving Tom s innocence. (169-190) Moreover, Atticus was a respectful lawyer. In the courtroom, he showed respect to everyone despite his or her reputation or appearance. He called Heck Tate Mr. Tate , Bob Ewell Mr. Ewell , and Mayella Miss Mayella all the way through the trial. (169-190) In addition, if Atticus was not a respectful and competent lawyer, and if the people of Maycomb did not respect him, they would not elect him to the state legislature year after year. (37) Therefore, time and time again, Atticus proved himself to possess the aptitudes required to be a lawyer.
Secondly, Atticus is almost the perfect example of what a father should be. He teaches his children, Jem and Scout, the morals to live life by. He teaches them to stand up for what they believe in, for example. Atticus was a firm believer in justice and equality for all men. He knew that Tom Robinson was innocent and that he was only on trial because it was the word of a colored man versus the word of a white man. Atticus therefore decided to defend Tom to his full potential. If I didn t I couldn t hold my head up in town, he explains to Jem and Scout when they question his defending Tom. (80) He also teaches them that things are not always as they seem, as there are with Mrs. Dubose for instance. On the outside, she looked like just an old crank. But Jem and Scout got a rude awakening when Atticus told them:
Mrs. Dubose was a morphine addict. She took it as a pain killer for years. The doctor put her on it. She d have spent the rest of her life on it and died without so much agony, but she was too contrary, She said she was going to leave this world beholden to nothing and nobody, She said she meant to break herself of it before she died, and that s what she did, I wanted you to see something about her – 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 your 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, She was the bravest person I ever knew. (115-116)
Also, Atticus spends quality time with his children. He spent the whole night with Jem just to make sure that he was going to be okay. He turned out the light and went to Jem s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning, was the way Harper Lee chose to express this. (284) In Scouts case, Atticus would let her climb up on his lap and read with him. Scout would read anything Atticus happened to be reading when I crawled into his lap every night. (22) Atticus proved time and time again that he loves his children and that he would do just about anything for them.
Lastly, Atticus is a superlative role model for the way a person should act, speak and live life. He was non-racist and non-prejudice. He let Calpurnia, a black woman, take care of his children. (whole novel) Beyond that, Atticus was also a calm and peaceful man. When Bob Ewell spat in his face, all Atticus said was I wish Bob Ewell wouldn t chew tobacco. Miss Stephanie Crawford, who claimed to have seen everything, said Atticus just took out his handkerchief and wiped his face . (219-220) In addition to being peaceful, Atticus finch was a very humble man in his abilities. He would let Jem and Scout win at checkers, even though, according to Miss Maudie, he s the best checker-player in this town. Furthermore, Atticus was even more humble when it came to his marksmanship skills. After Atticus shot Tim Johnson, Jem and Scout discovered that he possessed these skills. They did not know why he did not use them more often until Miss Maudie explained to them that:
He would not even shoot a firearm unless he absolutely had to. Marksmanship is a gift of God, a talent — oh you have to practice to make it perfect, but shootin s different from playing the piano or the like. I think maybe he put his gun down when he realized that God had given him an unfair advantage over most living things. I guess he decided he wouldn t shoot till he had to, and he had to today. (102)
Also, the most important part of Atticus Finch s character, his respectful nature. Every time he would walk past Mrs. Dubose s he would gallantly say Good evening, Mrs. Dubose! You look like a picture this evening. (104) Over and above that, Atticus respected the fact that it was the Great Depression and that most people could not afford legal fees. This was the case with Mr. Cunningham. Therefore Atticus just let him pay his legal fees anyway he could; with hickory nuts, stove wood and with any other little things he could give. But more than that, Atticus respected Arthur Radley. When Jem, Scout and Dill would play the Boo Radley Game, and when they tried to give Boo the note to come out, Atticus would tell them to stop tormenting that man. (53) He had respect for everyone and everything, whether or not their reputation was good.
In retrospect, Atticus is a valiant example of 3 people woven into one; he is a competent and skillful lawyer, a loving father, and an excellent and admirable person to look up to. Harper Lee has created one fine human being to play the character to play Atticus Finch. There is no doubt; Atticus Finch is as much a masterpiece of a man as To Kill A Mockingbird is a literary work of art!