How does Harper Lee develop Atticus throughout the book To Kill a Mockingbird?I know Atticus didn't change that much, but how did Atticus change in the eyes of the children? Thanks beforehand.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Harper Lee lets the reader know from the very first page (which is a retrospective view from the older Scout) that the Finch children respect their attorney father. But in early chapters, Atticus seems distant from the family. Calpurnia rules the roost while he is away, and he always defends her disciplinary actions. He threatens to spank the children several times, but we learn later from Jem that he has never had to do so. Chapter 10 is one of the pivotal chapters as far as the children discovering the secret talents of Atticus. They learn, much to their surprise, that, despite his bad eyesight, he is a crack marksman. Because he has never bragged about this talent, they understand how deeply humble a man he is. The children already respect his courtroom talents, but they get to seem them up close during the trial. They recognize, even though the jury doesn't, that he has adequately proved his case, and several people claim that only Atticus could have gotten the jury to deliberate so long on such a case. They recognize his love of all humanity in his dealings with Mrs. Dubose, Mr. Cunningham and, later, Tom and Helen Robinson; he even refuses to fight the undersized Bob Ewell after he is spat upon. His gentlemanly ways are not lost on Jem, and the children come to recognize the dangers he had undertaken by accepting the Robinson case in the first place. In the end, Scout realizes that Atticus had been right when he had told her that it is always best to step into the other person's skin before judging them

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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