How does Atticus express his belief in human goodness in To Kill A Mockingbird?I need to know how atticus expresses his belief in human goodness in to kill a mockingbird. Text evidence would be...

How does Atticus express his belief in human goodness in To Kill A Mockingbird?

I need to know how atticus expresses his belief in human goodness in to kill a mockingbird. Text evidence would be appreciated! Thanks.

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus remains an optimist about human goodness throughout the novel.  Because he is always willing to try to view the world through others eyes, Scout and Jem often think that Atticus is siding with others against them (Scout thinks this when she first discusses Miss Caroline with Atticus).  Here are several examples of Atticus's view of others' potential goodness:

1. When he goes to the jail to protect Tom, he seems to have unflinching confidence that the men will not do anything to harm him--that he can appeal to their goodness.

2. When Atticus defends Tom in the courtroom, he does so thoroughly and with great effort.  Although he expects the jury's verdict, he has great hope that he can win the case on appeal--that others will use common sense and fairness to acquit Tom.

3. Atticus sees the best in many of the townspeople who are shunned by almost everybody else in the town.  Mrs. Dubose makes derogatory, hateful comments about Atticus to his children, and yet he defends her to Scout and Jem and praises her posthumously so that Jem will know that she died courageously. Similarly, while many make up demonizing stories about Boo Radley, Atticus tries to protect his innocence by forcing the children to stop trying to bother him or making up plays about him.

Because Atticus not only discusses his optimism about human nature with his children but also lives as if he believes it, Scout eventually realizes that her father is right about trying to see the world through others' eyes.

 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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