Throughout the history of the world, there have been innumerable classic novels that have many cherishable characters, but none compare to Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Throughout the novel, Atticus, a loving lawyer and widowed father, goes far distances to try to help others and make society a better place. Whether he serves his neighbors or defends a black man in a racist society, Atticus never falters or fails to go with courage within his heart. Atticus treats everyone with respect and teaches his children valuable lessons. In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch is portrayed as heroic, just, and wise.
Throughout the novel, Atticus Finch proves himself to be a true hero. For an example, “…the actions of Atticus Finch are also symbolic of themes in the prejudiced South. It may not seem so at first, but the shooting of the rabid dog by Atticus was, indeed, greatly illustrative. Here the rabid dog, Tim Johnson, represents prejudice, and how, like a rabid dog, it spreads its disease throughout the South.
Atticus Finch is seen as the hero, the avenger, as he kills racism and prejudice, not allowing it to spread itself any further” (Smykowski 84). In the novel, Atticus encounters a rabid dog. Though the police officer was more qualified, he begs Atticus to shoot it because he is too frightened. As stated above, Atticus shooting the dog was symbolic as him trying to destroy racism. Atticus is courageous and strong enough to try even when others fail.
Also, “The civil-rights movement isn’t even on the horizon when her widowed father, the lawyer Atticus Finch, heroically defends a black man, Tom Robinson, falsely accused of raping a white woman” (Dufresne 1). Atticus did a very challenging thing that later would be known as The Civil Rights Movement. Atticus stood for what was right even when the rest of the world was not yet ready.
Secondly, Atticus is Just. Claudia Durst Johnson once said, “The heroes of the fictional and real trials both are Alabama lawyers: Atticus Finch in the book and Judge James Horton in the real trials. Horton refused to convict the Scottsboro prisoners, because he believed that the jury had reached a guilty verdict unsupported by the evidence. Both men acted bravely in the face of formidable local opposition” (Johnson 222). Atticus is just because, like Judge James Horton, he stands for what is right and fair, though at the time it was unaccepted and difficult. He treats everyone equally not by their race, but by their actions.
In Harper Lee’s novel, Atticus tells his children to “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird…Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (Lee 119). The mockingbird is a symbol for people like Tom Robinson, someone pure hearted that only does good for others and never does wrong, whereas the bluejay is a symbol for people like Bob Ewell, a racist man that only causes trauma to society. Atticus understands and values people who may not be socially accepted because of their race, but should be accepted because of their good actions and intentions.
Lastly, Atticus is wise. An example of this is when “Atticus explains to Scout that defending Tom is a privilege, not a punishment. Atticus believes that moral righteousness begins in the home, and that if he does not practice morality, he cannot teach it to his children” (Champion 116). Atticus is wise because he doesn’t see Tom as a curse, but a privilege. He is asked to do what may be the most complicated thing in all of his life put he goes with positivity and fairness. He also understands how he must be morally correct in order to teach his children likewise, or else he would be hypocritical. Mrs.Dubose, Atticus’s neighbor, rudely ridicules Atticus towards his children, inspiring Jem to throw out his anger upon her camelia flowers. Atticus then forces Jem to read to her as compensation. It helped strengthen not only Jem’s character, but also Mrs.Dubose’s courage (Smykowski 84). Atticus knows that Jem can and will build strength and courage from doing a difficult thing. He sees farther than the effects of now, but rather the long-term perspective, and this takes a lot of insight and humility.
Though he did not change the world, Atticus is a wise, just, and heroic father that affected many. Plentiful amounts of people do valiant, unnoticed things, but that doesn’t mean that they should stop. Rather, like Atticus, they should continue to do nobel acts of kindness, even if they are persecuted or ridiculed. People who are mistreated for doing what’s right should only continue to try harder. People should stand with more courage, boldly go forward while treating everyone fairly, determine decisions with justice, and be wise in all of their doing and always do what is right, even if it is socially accepted as wrong.