Atticus Finch

Atticus Finch

    To Kill a Mockingbird
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… in the “tired old town” of Maycomb, Alabama with his son Jem and his daughter Scout. It’s 1933, and the Great Depression is in full swing. The county is poor, old-fashioned, and sluggish, but the Finch family is quite well off in comparison to the rest of its inhabitants.

Profession… lawyer. Atticus is a firm believer in justice. He’ll accept hickory nuts as payment if a deserving client cannot pay. Although steadfast adherence to his principles gains him many enemies in Maycomb, Atticus is still an esteemed citizen.

Interests… being a good parent. Atticus tries his best to be a moral presence in his children’s lives. Maycomb is rife with prejudice and he doesn’t want Jem or Scout to grow up to embody the judgmental mindset of many other county inhabitants. As he says, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”  

Relationship Status… widowed. Atticus lost his wife shortly after Scout was born. Calpurnia, the Finch family’s housekeeper, acts as the motherly figure to his two children. She loves, protects, and educates them as if they were her own.

Challenge… defending Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman. Most of Maycomb’s citizens are in an uproar that he took the case. He also incurs the wrath of the girl’s father, Bob Ewell, a racist and extremely hateful man who is determined to see Tom behind bars. Atticus believes that Tom is innocent, but he must convince the jury and the rest of the county to act on the truth rather than their prejudices.

Personality… dignified and moral. Atticus Finch is an exemplary father and human being. He stands up for justice, regardless of the hate and disdain he receives from other Maycomb citizens. Atticus is never one for retaliation. Instead, he strives to understand others and encourages his children to do the same.


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