• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Atticus is the only significant character in To kill a Mockingbird. Do you agree?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Atticus is the only significant character in To kill a Mockingbird. Do you agree? To kill a mockingbird is a novel set in the 1930's in Maycomb, a small town in Alabama in the USA. It is written by Harper Lee. By significant character I'm saying an important role that plays a big part in binding the story together and holding the plot on the right track. The novel includes a number of significant characters of which Atticus is one of the most significant. However there are others including Jem, Atticus's son and Scout, Atticus's daughter, the narrator of the story who also play significant roles. Atticus Finch, Scout and Jem's father, a lawyer in Maycomb came from an old local family. A widower with a dry sense of humour, Atticus has passed on to his children his strong sense of morality and justice. He is one of the few citizens of Maycomb committed to racial equality. When he agrees to defend Tom Robinson, 'I'm simply defending a Negro', a black man charged with raping a white woman, he exposes himself and his family to the racism of the white community, 'Maycomb's usual disease'. With his strongly held convictions, wisdom, and empathy, I think Atticus functions as the novel's moral backbone a significant role. ...read more.

Middle

He is four years older than Scout is, he gradually separates himself from her games, but he remains her close companion and protector throughout the novel. Jem moves into adolescence during the story, and his ideals are shaken badly by the evil and injustice that he perceives during the trial of Tom Robinson, he too represents morality and plays a significant role in the story. If Scout is an innocent girl who is exposed to evil at an early age and forced to develop an adult moral outlook, Jem finds himself in an even more turbulent situation. His awful experience at Tom Robinson's trial, when he sees that justice is not always served leaves him vulnerable and confused at a critical point in his life. Nevertheless, he admirably keeps his commitment to justice that Atticus has taught him and maintains it with deep conviction throughout the novel. Atticus tells Scout that 'Jem simply needs time to process what he has learned'. The strong presence of Atticus in Jem's life seems to promise that he will recover his equilibrium. Although Jem is left unconscious with a broken arm after Bob Ewell's climactic attack, the fact that Boo Radley unexpectedly comes to his aid and saves him reminds him of the good in people. ...read more.

Conclusion

The basic development of her character is governed by the question of whether she will emerge from that contact with her conscience and optimism intact or whether she will be bruised, hurt, or destroyed like Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. Thanks to Atticus's modern upbringing and wisdom, Scout learns that though humanity has a great capacity for evil, it also has a great capacity for good, and that the evil can often be mitigated if one approaches others with an outlook of sympathy and understanding. Scout's development into a person capable of assuming that outlook marks the culmination of the novel and indicates that, whatever evil she encounters, she will retain her conscience without becoming cynical or jaded. Though she is still a child at the end of the book, Scout's perspective on life develops from that of an innocent child into that of a near grown-up. That is why I consider her one of the significant figures in the novel. She is the character that carries the reader through the story as the narrator and as the character the novel follows. Atticus is not the only significant character in to kill a mockingbird. Without each other the storyline wouldn't be strong. Each character acts as a 'foil' for the other and are interdependent in their significance however he does play the most important role as the novels moral backbone, voice of conscience and guide to his well brought up children. Alice Renouf-Donaldson ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Harper Lee section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Harper Lee essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    In this essay I will be exploring Jem and Scout's journey to maturity throughout ...

    5 star(s)

    At the time however, I thought the only explanation for what he did was that for a few minutes he simply went mad.' This passage shows her immaturity as a child, because as she recalls that time she uses the phrase 'I took it for granted that he kept his temper'.

  2. How influential is the setting of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' to the novel's plot ...

    The Ewell family are in a similar situation to the Cunninghams. Unlike the Cunninghams the Ewells do not abide by the law. 'Atticus said the Ewells had been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations.' No action is taken, though the children do not attend school and Bob Ewell hunts and traps illegally.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird (Chapter summaries).

    When Jem shouted that the phone was ringing the crowd dispersed. The next day after church Atticus was again surrounded by the men who said Tom Robinson had been moved back into Maycomb jail. That night Atticus went into the town after Scout and Jem had been sent to bed

  2. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    He hopes that Jem and Scout will look to him for their answers rather than to the townspeople. Then he calls out Scout's name and tells her to go to bed. She runs back to her room. Years later, the older narrator says, she will understand that Atticus wanted her to hear everything he said.

  1. How is the character of Atticus the nucleus of 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

    In this quote the bluejays could be seen as the group majority, however the mockingbirds are different and go against what is normal. Another way in which Atticus could be seen as the nucleus of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is the way in which his character is integral to the plot.

  2. Discuss the importance of Boo Radley in relation to the themes and plot of ...

    This shows that the children are afraid of the Radley place and that they do not want to go anywhere near because of what they have heard. Jem overcomes his fear and builds up some courage to go and touch the Radley place.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird Lit Review

    Initiating Force: The initiating force is the rest of the first chapter. This is when the flashback starts and we are introduced to Dill. "it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first game us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."(3)

  2. How does Scout develop and mature as the novel progresses?

    When they arrived at the house, and Walter met Atticus, Jem and Scout's father, Scout was very surprised that "Walter and Atticus talked together like two adults". She did not understand why her father was treating this poor boy with the respect he usually reserved for adults.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work