How does Atticus Finch show love in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus exhibits his love of all people throughout To Kill a Mockingbird. He is obviously a loving parent to his children, teaching them--often by his own example--the value of education (he convinces Scout to not give up on school); tolerance ("climb into his skin and walk around in it"); humility (he withholds his marksmanship skills from Jem and Scout) and moral consciousness (by undertaking the defense of Tom Robinson). He displays his love of family (paying for his brother's education); his sympathy for the weak ("it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" and "the worst thing you can do" is for a white man to cheat a black man); and his responsibility toward his community (he repeatedly runs unopposed as Maycomb's representative in the state legislature). But above all, Atticus is known for his love of fellow man. He defends Mr. Cunningham for free, trusting that Cunningham will eventually pay (in some manner). He is probably the most respected man in town, and he has no ill will toward anyone (except perhaps Bob Ewell). Maudie reminds Scout that Atticus is the same man whether he is within the privacy of his own home or in a crowd of people. Perhaps the highest compliment he is paid comes from Maudie, when she tells Alexandra that

"... we're paying the highest tribute we can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It's that simple." 

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus displays his love for his children and the citizens of Maycomb numerous ways throughout the novel. Atticus is a good father who always has his children's well-being in mind at all times. He tries his best to be a positive role model by setting a good example for Jem and Scout and is always honest with them. Jem and Scout feel comfortable asking their father questions and have faith that Atticus will tell them the truth. Atticus also displays his love for Jem and Scout by teaching them valuable life lessons. He shares with his children the importance of perspective, courage, and tolerance. Atticus' dedication to being an outstanding father demonstrates his love. 

Atticus displays his love for the citizens of Maycomb by representing them in the legislature and following through with difficult tasks, such as defending Tom Robinson. Despite have drastically different values, Atticus is tolerant and kind to his neighbors. He helps save Maudie's furniture, makes Jem read to Mrs. Dubose, and even kills a rabid dog that threatens the safety of the neighborhood. Atticus risks his life and reputation for his community which demonstrates his love for his neighbors throughout the novel. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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