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Atticus Finch is exactly who he claims to be. As a father, he leads his children by his example using honesty and integrity as his tools. When talking with Scout he says, "you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb in his skin and take a walk around in it." He is teaching her a valuable lesson on human dignity. He wants Scout to always have empathy for others despite rumors and small town gossip. When the time comes to take a position that no one else would dare, Atticus Finch rises to the occasion and defends Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is a black citizen accused of raping a white woman. At first the town is angry with Atticus for defending Tom, but his reputation for honest and integrity overcomes this anger. Anger turns into respect. Another characteristic of his honesty is that Atticus does not shelter his children from the ugly details of the Robinson case, "Best way to clear the air is to have it all out in the open." He makes this decision because he knows that talk will spread throughout the town, and this talk may not always be true. Atticus values truth and wants his children to be equipped with the truth in case they are confronted with rumors and gossip. As an attorney, he fights this case with honesty and integrity, and as a father he raises his children with truth and integrity as the foundation.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. HarperCollins: 1960 (Perennial Classics edition: 2002). ISBN 0-06-093546-4
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