Homework Help

What is Atticus's relationship to the rest of Maycomb in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?To...

user profile pic

teanabrown | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 14, 2009 at 12:18 AM via web

dislike 0 like

What is Atticus's relationship to the rest of Maycomb in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

To clarify the question further:  What is Atticus's role, too, in the community?

(I'm trying to write an essay question about this topic and I need help answering it. Thanks!)

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 14, 2009 at 1:15 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

As an attorney and professional, Atticus Finch of "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a prominent member of the community of Macomb; in addition, he is well-respected for his humility and his fair treatment of all the citizens.  He is a rational man in a community of highly emotional people, and he can handle the prejudiced white masses while still dealing with the underprivileged black population because he treats each person as an individual.  In short, Atticus Finch is the voice of reason and justice for the entire town of Maycomb and for his family, as well.

Early in the narrative, Atticus tells his children,

You never really understand a persoon until you consider things from his point of view....until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

Indeed, this is the maxim that Atticus both teaches and practices at home, at work, and in his social dealings with others.  As a father, he chastises his children whenever they make pejorative remarks about other children or people.  When Scout comes home from school and is angry about her new teacher saying that Atticus should not read with her, Atticus explains that she feels somewhat threatened, concluding,

If you'll conced the necessity of going to school, we'll go on reading every night just as we always have.  Is it a bargain?

Atticus scolds the children for antagonizing the Radley's, telling them to respect their property and way of life.  By making Jem read to Mrs. Dubose, he affords his son the opportunity of "climbing into her skin" and getting to know that she is fighting morphine addiction with "real courage."

In spite of the controversial issue of defending Tom Robinson, Atticus takes the case, telling others,

Do you think I could face my children otherwise?  You know what's going to happen as well as I do, but I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through this without bitterness, and most of all without catching Maycomb's usual disease.

Faced with a mob, Atticus valiantly stands up to them, saying that Tom Robinson will have a fair trial.  And, with the help of Scout who employs a technique of talking personally to Mr. Cunningham--a technique she has learned from her father--the mob is dispelled.

***********************

To further assist you, see the group questions on this novel.  One site is listed below; this site has 12 quotes that should assist you with support for your ideas/topic sentences.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes