Is Atticus an example of a static or dynamic character in Part One of To Kill a Mockingbird?

2 Answers

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In literature, a dynamic character experiences some change in personality or attitude; this change is one that usually involves more than a mere change in surroundings or condition.  On the other hand, static charcters remain the same throughout a narrative and do not develop or change beyond the way in which they are first presented. Harper Lee's character of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird is a static character, for although Scout's and Jem's attitudes about their father change, he remains essentially the same throughout the novel. 

Atticus Finch exhibits the same fortitude in the courtroom that he demonstrates when he shoots the rabid dog earlier in the narrative.  He exercises the principle of looking at things from others' points of view throughout the novel, as well.  For instance, in the early part of the narrative, Atticus admonishes the children to respect Boo Radley's privacy and strange ways.  Then, in the final chapter, Atticus again acknowledges the importance of respecting Boo Radley's privacy by concurring with Heck Tate's judgment regarding the death of Bob Ewell.  Respectful of Miss Caroline, Scout's teacher, and of Mrs. Dubose and all his other neighbors, Atticus Finch extends this same respect later, even to the perjurer, Mayella Ewell.  Always, Atticus is constant in his courage and character.

gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As was mentioned in the previous post, a static character does not undergo a significant change throughout a story and remains relatively the same. Atticus Finch in Part One of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird is an example of a static character. Throughout Part One, Atticus remains a morally upright character. Atticus is portrayed as an intelligent, moral man who decides to courageously defend Tom Robinson in front of a prejudiced jury. Atticus does not waver in his decision to defend Tom and demonstrates empathy for others throughout Part One. He is viewed as a helpful, understanding neighbor that loves his children. Atticus's attitude, behavior, perspective, and beliefs do not change in Part One, which makes him a static character. Unlike Atticus, Jem and Scout experience drastic changes later on in the novel and are considered dynamic characters. Their perspective on life changes after they witness racial injustice and they develop into morally upright individuals like their father. 

Sources: