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There are many ways to characterize the main characters, but the way that they are first introduced is important. I have chosen some characters, because there is not enough room for your whole list. I have chosen as many as can fit. For each character, I have chosen short representative quotes. The first sentence of the book is a good quote to characterize Jem. This summarizes Jem’s practical attitude. Jem is not self-conscious, and he cares little about appearances.
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. (chapter 1)
We learn that Atticus is not just comfortable in Maycomb, he’s a fixture there. Atticus is part of the fabric of the town, and this is significant to all of his other character traits. He is sure of himself, and has his own strong moral compass. He does what he feels is right.
He liked Maycomb, he was Maycomb County born and bred; he knew his people, they knew him, and because of Simon Finch’s industry, Atticus was related by blood or marriage to nearly every family in the town. (chapter 1)
Calpurnia is described as being angular, and her personality is rough. However she is also a constant stabilizing force in Jem and Scout’s lives.
Calpurnia was something else again. She was all angles and bones; she was nearsighted; she squinted; her hand was wide as a bed slat and twice as hard. She was always ordering me out of the kitchen, asking me why I couldn’t behave as well as Jem when she knew he was older, and calling me home when I wasn’t ready to come. (chapter 1)
The best description of Boo comes at the end of the story, where we learn who he really is. Although he has been a mysterious and malevolent figure and a curiosity at different times in the book, at the end he is revealed as shy and sickly.
When Boo Radley shuffled to his feet, light from the livingroom windows glistened on his forehead. Every move he made was uncertain, as if he were not sure his hands and feet could make proper contact with the things he touched. He coughed his dreadful raling cough, and was so shaken he had to sit down again. (chapter 31)
Dill is described as being unusual in almost every way. He is cheerful, but he’s also hiding a sadness that comes from having no father. Dill has a good imagination, and makes the most of his difficulties.
Dill was a curiosity. He wore blue linen shorts that buttoned to his shirt, his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duckfluff; he was a year my senior but I towered over him. As he told us the old tale his blue eyes would lighten and darken; his laugh was sudden and happy; he habitually pulled at a cowlick in the center of his forehead. (chapter 1)
Miss Maudie is kind to the children, and lets them play in her yard. She loves nature, and is described as speaking her own mind and preferring the outdoors.
Miss Maudie hated her house: time spent indoors was time wasted. She was a widow, a chameleon lady who worked in her flower beds in an old straw hat and men’s coveralls, but after her five o’clock bath she would appear on the porch and reign over the street in magisterial beauty. (chapter 5)
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