Jean Louise “Scout” Finch
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, a five-year-old girl when the story begins. She is smart and precocious, having learned to read at an early age by studying her father’s law books. A hothead, more willing to fight than to think, she is often in trouble. She serves as a willing accomplice in her older brother’s escapades. It is in her clear, honest voice that the story is told.
Jeremy “Jem” Atticus Finch
Jeremy “Jem” Atticus Finch, Scout’s brother, nine years old when the novel begins. He is thoughtful, with a slower fuse than Scout, and often acts as interpreter to his sister of the world’s confusing contradictions and vagaries. He intends to be a lawyer like his father when he grows up.
Atticus Finch, Scout and Jem’s father, a lawyer in Maycomb, Alabama. A widower, almost fifty years old, Atticus responds to the challenge of rearing two small children by treating them as equals, with dignity and honesty. Atticus is a rare man, not only because he is a keen judge of human nature but also because he is able to forgive his fellow citizens their faults. When he defends a black man charged with raping a white woman, he does so knowing full well the wrath he will draw from the community. Standing up to the town’s anger and ridicule requires both physical and moral courage, and Atticus shows that he has both.
Calpurnia, the Finch’s cook and housekeeper, a self-educated black woman in her fifties. Calpurnia acts as Scout and Jem’s substitute mother. It is through Calpurnia that the Finches learn how the black community is responding to the rape charge against Tom Robinson.
Charles “Dill” Baker Harris
Charles “Dill” Baker Harris, a fatherless boy one year older than Scout. Shunted from home to home, Dill comes to Maycomb in the summers to stay with his aunt. A grand storyteller and an inspired actor, he is Scout and Jem’s favorite playmate. Dill is based on Truman Capote, Harper Lee’s lifelong friend from her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.
Arthur “Boo” Radley
Arthur “Boo” Radley, a recluse in his forties who lives with his brother, next door to the Finches. Boo was put under the equivalent of house arrest by his father years ago as punishment for a teenage prank. Few have seen him since, and many of the children’s games revolve around trying to make Boo come out.
Tom Robinson, a twenty-five-year-old black laborer, married and the father of three children. Tom is an honest, well-respected man. Although he has a disabled left arm, he is a strong and steady worker. Tom ignores the social dicta that forbid a black man from associating with a white woman, and, out of pity, helps overworked Mayella Ewell with some of her heavier chores. He is killed trying to escape from prison before Atticus can appeal his conviction for rape.
Helen Robinson, Tom’s wife.
Robert (Bob) E. Lee Ewell
Robert (Bob) E. Lee Ewell, a cocky, uneducated widower who spends his relief checks on green whiskey and lets his oldest daughter, Mayella, worry about how to feed herself and the other seven children from what she can forage from the town dump. After Atticus implies in court that Bob, not Tom, beat Mayella, Bob vows revenge. He is found dead with a knife in his ribs after Scout and Jem are attacked.
Mayella Violet Ewell
Mayella Violet Ewell, Bob Ewell’s nineteen-year-old daughter. She is a stocky, friendless girl more or less resigned to a difficult life. When her attempt to kiss Tom is discovered, she quickly joins her father in accusing the black man of rape.
Alexandra Finch Hancock
Alexandra Finch Hancock, Atticus’ married sister. She strongly disapproves of how Atticus is rearing his children, especially Scout. During the trial, she comes to stay with the Finches.
John (Jack) Hale Finch
John (Jack) Hale Finch, Atticus’ younger brother by ten years, a physician.
Miss Maudie Atkinson
Miss Maudie Atkinson, an independent-minded widow who lives near the Finches. Like Atticus, she treats Scout and Jem with respect, and they enjoy her company.
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, a very old invalid who breaks her addiction to morphine, the painkiller prescribed to her, before she dies.
Miss Stephanie Crawford
Miss Stephanie Crawford, the neighborhood busybody.