To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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How does Atticus stand by values that he tries to impart to his children?

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Atticus not only tries to teach his children fairness, he sees racism as a kind of "madness" that takes over the citizens of Maycomb.  Atticus represents reason in the face of that madness and shows this reason both realistically and symbolically.  In the scene at the jail when he confronts the lynch mob, it is symbolically significant that Atticus takes with him a light buld (the light of reason) and a newspaper (words rather than weapons), but he does not take a gun.  He uses the power of reason--with the help of his daughter--to quell the angry mob, and it is Scout's singling out of a single man, Mr. Cunningham, that makes the crowd dissipate.  Similarly, when Atticus shoots the mad dog, Tim Johnson, a rabid dog, we see a foreshadowing of the courtroom fight between reason and madness.  Atticus represents reason against the madness symbolized by the mad dog.  Atticus requires Jem to read (logic, reason) to Mrs. Dubose to apologize for the frenzy--a kind of madness--that led Jem to...

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