In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch has the challenge of raising two young children on his own. Though his maid, Calpurnia, takes care of chores and cooking meals for the family, Atticus is fully committed to raising his children, and imparting unto them his values about fairness and justice. As with any family with more than one child, Atticus shows his children that he cares for them equally in a variety of ways.
A telling example occurs near the beginning of the book. As Atticus tucks Scout in for the night, she asks to play with his pocket watch. Atticus mentions that the watch will belong to Jem one day, as it is custom for a son to receive his father’s watch. He goes on to say that when Scout is an adult, he will give her a ring and necklace that once belonged to her mother. By telling this to Scout, he is also reassuring her that she, too, will have a permanent connection to her parents, especially the mother she never knew.
Atticus also makes it clear to his children that a proper education is important for both of them. Despite his long hours working as a defense attorney, Atticus takes time each evening to read to Scout, something he has done since she was an infant. Because of this attention, Scout knows how to read even before her first day of school. Even when Scout becomes frustrated at school due to the teacher and other students, Atticus talks to her like an adult so that she will not stay antagonistic against education. Atticus' actions reveal much about his character considering that southern culture at the time put a lower value on women’s education than it does today.