To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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How does Atticus show integrity throughout the novel? Would Atticus' response to Bob Ewell spitting in his face be considered acting with integrity?

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According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and fair. Throughout the novel, Atticus displays integrity by excising his morally upright belief that people should be treated equally and having tolerance for the ignorant community members of Maycomb. Atticus portrays his integrity by treating Jem and Scout equally and fairly. Scout even tells her uncle that when she and Jem argue, Atticus hears both sides of their stories. Atticus is also tolerant towards Mrs. Dubose. He tells Jem, "She’s an old lady and she’s ill. You just hold your head high and be a gentleman" (Lee 64).

Later on in the novel, when Aunt Alexandra tries to influence Atticus to fire Calpurnia, Atticus defends Cal by referring to her as a faithful member of the family. He treats Cal fairly and refuses to fire her. In Chapter 16, after the Old Sarum bunch attempts to lynch Tom Robinson, Atticus displays integrity by explaining to his children how mob mentality influenced each member of the gang. Atticus also displays integrity by valiantly defending Tom Robinson in front of a prejudiced community. After losing the trial, Bob Ewell seeks to avenge Atticus and spits in his face while leaving the post office. Atticus does not react with violence or anger, and simply allows Bob to express his grievances. Atticus' ability to maintain self-control and be tolerant towards Bob reflects his integrity. Atticus' actions are congruent with his beliefs which is why refraining from responding out of anger would be considered acting with integrity.

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