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Does Atticus represent an "every man" figure in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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hsato | eNotes Employee

Posted June 25, 2012 at 11:25 PM via iOS

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Does Atticus represent an "every man" figure in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 26, 2012 at 1:31 PM (Answer #1)

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One could define Atticus, from Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, as an everyman. He openly believes that everyone should be considered equal and seen as equal in society. In this sense, Atticus could be defined as everyman given his mentality on equality.

Given that Atticus is trying to stand up for what is right, what should happen, he could be considered an everyman based upon Harper Lee's desire to show the South as a prejudiced and oppressive region.

As an everyman, Atticus would represent the universal ideologies and behaviors seen in the majority of the population. Given that not many people in the South agreed with equal rights, Atticus' identification as an everyman could be questioned.

That said, not everyone in Maycomb (or everyone in the South) agrees with Atticus. Instead, the majority view in the South was one which placed persons of color below whites. In this sense, Atticus would be viewed as an outsider, not representing the universal ideology of the South.

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