Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
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...
(The entire section is 737 words.)
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