How does Harper Lee describe Atticus in chapters 1–3 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

In chapters 1–3 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee describes Atticus Finch as a wise man, a respected lawyer, and an excellent father by explaining his background and showing how he interacts with his children.

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Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is a fascinating character, and the author provides some interesting and vivid descriptions of him in the novel's first three chapters. Let's look at some of those.

The story's narrator, Scout , is Atticus's daughter, and she immediately starts her...

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Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is a fascinating character, and the author provides some interesting and vivid descriptions of him in the novel's first three chapters. Let's look at some of those.

The story's narrator, Scout, is Atticus's daughter, and she immediately starts her story by saying that she and her brother, Jem, decide that they are “far too old to settle an argument with a fist-fight,” so they consult their father, who says they are both, to an extent, right. This tells us that Atticus is a wise man who is respected by his children.

Atticus is a lawyer who practices in Maycomb. He had a bit of a rough start in his law career (his first two clients were hung), but he persevered and became well-respected throughout the county. He also serves in the state legislature. Atticus, Scout explains, married a woman fifteen years younger than he is, but she left him a widower with two young children when she died suddenly from a heart attack.

Atticus always has sound advice for his children. When Jem asks him about the Radleys, for instance, Atticus tells him “to mind his own business and let the Radleys mind theirs.” When Scout runs into difficulties in first grade (because, to her teacher's amazement and disgust, she can already read and write), Atticus makes a deal with his daughter. They will continue their evening reading sessions (through which Scout learned to read in the first place) as long as Scout does not tell her teacher about them. Atticus humorously adds, “I wouldn't want her after me,” making his daughter feel much better about the situation. Atticus handles Scout's issue with calm reason, explaining to her on a level that she can understand and showing her that life isn't always fair and that she will often need to compromise in some way. The author thereby shows how Atticus is an excellent father.

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