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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus Finch, Harper Lee's creation in her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is one of the quintessential good guys in all of literature. Based on the author's own father, Atticus, though a single parent, is a superb dad to Jem and Scout (though his sister, Alexandra, may disagree). He allows his children enough independence to discover the realities of life and make decisions on their own. As an attorney, he is peerless. Real-life lawyers actually use Finch as a standard for the profession. His innate honesty and fairness in all aspects of work and life are recognized by all around him. He seems to be color-blind, treating all races and classes alike. The ideas that he passes on to his children, especially the famed quotes from the story--that "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" and to "climb into his skin and walk around in it"--have become a part of the American vernacular.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus Finch is a very good person.  He is so much more humane and fair minded than most of the other people in Maycomb.  He is trying to teach his kids how to be the same way.  In a society that was full of racism and arrogance based on who their ancestors were, Atticus lacks either of those bad characteristics.

Contrast him with Aunt Alexandra, for example.  She is so snobby -- she thinks she's better than everyone because of her family name.  Atticus doesn't feel that way.

Look at all the other people, even Mr. Cunningham -- they are ready to lynch Tom.  Atticus stands up for him.

So Atticus treats people like people and he teaches his kids to do the same.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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