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What are quotes that show that Atticus Finch is generous and brave in To Kill a...

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arynembretson | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2012 at 7:14 PM via web

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What are quotes that show that Atticus Finch is generous and brave in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee?

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misslacey | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 14, 2012 at 12:46 AM (Answer #1)

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Many of Atticus' actions throughout the novel depict him as brave and generous, since courage is one of the major themes of the book. He basically shows both of these characteristics through the way he treats every character in the book. That said, there are some examples that most clearly demonstrate these attributes.

Atticus shows true courage by defending Tom Robinson based on the principal of right and wrong, even though he knows that he will not will not win and that the people of Maycomb county will surely turn on him and his children. In a discussion with his brother on page 88, Atticus explains why he has to try his best to defend Tom Robinson, despite the consequences:

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

Later, Atticus shows true bravery when he stands outside of Tom's cell, knowing that men from the town will show up trying to kill him. When they do, he shows further bravery by standing his ground and refusing to leave, even though he knows he is about to be beaten, possibly in front of his children. Through Scout's narration, the reader can tell that Atticus is scared:

He put the newspaper down very carefully, adjusting its creases with lingering fingers. They were trembling a little (p. 152).

After the men leave, Atticus reassures Tom:

Get some sleep, Tom. They won't bother you anymore (155).

Later, he shows generosity and forgiveness when he gives Mr. Cunnningham, who almost just beat him up in an effort to kill Tom Robinson, the benefit of the doubt. On page 157, Atticus says

Mr. Cunningham is basically a good man...he just has some blind spots.

Atticus shows bravery when Bob Ewell spits in his face, trying to provoke a fight because of the way Atticus defended Tom during the trial. On page 217, Scout describes what she hears about the event:

Ms. Stephanie said Atticus didn't bat an eye, just took out his handkerchief and wiped his face and stood there and let Mr. Ewell call him names wild horses could not bring her to repeat.

Atticus also shows generosity through the way he treats Dill in the latter half of the chapter. When Dill runs away from home, Atticus welcomes him into his house and treats him like one of his own. On page 141, Atticus says:

Nobody's about to make you go anywhere but to bed pretty soon. I'm just going over to tell Ms. Rachel you're here and ask her if you could spend the night with us--you'd like that, wouldn't you?

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