To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: A Character Analysis of Atticus Fitch

Essay by songkingJunior High, 9th gradeA+, October 2008

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch represented what was left of the conscious of Maycomb County. He was one of the few people that was able to “cope with the unreasonable and highly emotional element of the town. He [handled] the white masses and still [dealt] justly with the underprivileged Negro population.” When he was appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a Negro, in a court-case the town criticized him. Even his family said that he was “ruinin’ the family.” To make matters worse, Atticus was constantly criticized in the way he raised his daughter Scout. But, Atticus tried his best to continue doing what he believed was best.

Atticus was first described as a kind and understanding man. However, Jem and Scout thought that he “was feeble; he was nearly fifty,” and he was much older than the other children’s fathers. However, later in the novel, a clearer picture of Atticus was painted.

When a mad dog came down the street, Atticus was called on to shoot it. At first the children did not understand why, but after Atticus shot the dog in one try they learned that Atticus was once the “deadest shot in Maycomb.” Thus, he proved to be brave in a different way. Atticus did daily tasks so well that when he was called to do “an extraordinary action, its performance [came] naturally to him.” But it soon became obvious that there was more depth to Atticus.

Atticus was the central figure in the plot, embodying the theme throughout the entire novel. He fought against injustice; he constantly advised his children not to judge people but to “step into their shoes.” As a father, his children look up to him with love and respect, feeling comfortable enough with him to come for comfort and advice.