Who is Atticus Finch? What is his purpose in Maycomb? Carefully and thoroughly, Harper Lee illustrates Atticuss respectable character through describing his actions and words in his roles as a lawyer and a father

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        “Who am I?” “What is my purpose on this planet?” These are questions each individual encounters in the course of his or her life. As authors create characters and the fantasy worlds they live in, they must place themselves in the shoes of their characters and answer these questions. Only when these questions have been answered with careful consideration can an author create a round character that his or her readers can relate to. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee demonstrates this skill in her development of Atticus’s character. In the novel, besides giving the most direct physical descriptions, she creates Atticus’s character not only by showing Atticus’s actions, words, and beliefs, but also by showing bystanders’ views of his performance in the two most important roles Atticus serves: an impartial lawyer and a caring father which gives insight about his personality as a whole.

        In the small town of Maycomb, Atticus is as a nondiscriminatory and respectable lawyer, a respect which he rightfully earns through his efforts and beliefs. Because his job is a very important aspect of his life and his character, Harper Lee uses this role to develop Atticus’s character. As a lawyer, Atticus has many strong beliefs about what is lawfully acceptable—most important of which are justice, truth, and equality. “The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom.” (pg. 240) This is shown through the effort Atticus puts in the Tom Robinson case, despite the fact that Tom Robinson is a black man and many of the townspeople disapprove. He is solely concerned about the fact that this kind-hearted and innocent man has been accused of an unforgivable act and may be wrongfully punished. In fact, Atticus goes beyond the normal scope of lawyer duties to protect his client by putting his own life in endanger to confront a mob of vigilante men in the middle of the night who set out to kill Tom. These unconventional acts tell the reader the organization of Atticus’s devotion to his value system. In an era where discrimination is not only common, but also encouraged, Atticus chooses to go against the societal norms and hold strong to his belief in a fair justice system for every man. His kind and impartial character is seen clearly by the reader, but is it seen by those around him? One may think that protecting Robinson is one of the rare occasions where Atticus, a usually not rebellious man, stands up for his beliefs in justice, but Harper Lee further defines and supports Atticus’s character by showing that his persistent and strong beliefs and kind nature have become acknowledged and respected by all of his neighbors. For instance, near the end of the book, the reader is informed that Judge Taylor appointed Atticus to the Robinson case because he was the only lawyer that the judge trusted would allow Tom Robinson a fair fight. The fact that Judge chooses Atticus out of all the lawyers to take this difficult task and the fact that Atticus puts all his efforts into it shows that he is not the stereotypical cold-blooded lawyer. In fact, Atticus takes this duty so seriously that he is able to make the jury ponder the inevitable verdict—guilty—for hours before announcing it. “We’re making a step – it’s just a baby-step, but it’s a step,” (p.235) and it is this baby-step toward justice that Atticus has fought so hard for. From these details, the reader can see that one of the most prominent and most admirable aspects of Atticus is his strong-willed nature when it comes to his values. However, Harper Lee develops his character even further to show that his strong will is not stubborn and his morals do not necessarily make him holy. In fact, though he is a very peaceful and caring man, he is also seen by others as flawed, especially as a father.

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        Atticus’s strong will is adorned with a more caring and understanding nature, as well as some seemingly flawed aspects, as Harper Lee describes his interactions with his children. So far, as a lawyer, Atticus is portrayed as almost saintly, but for his character to seem more realistic, Atticus must possess some flaws. These flaws are presented in Atticus’s role as a father and show in greater depth key characteristics of Atticus’s personality. For instance, Atticus is often criticized for his inability to raise Scout as a proper young lady since she is always running around in overalls and getting dirty ...

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