How is a father the most important teacher comparing Atticus and Troy?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the teaching influence of the father can be seen in both works as example of both how one should act and as how one should not act.  Atticus serves a model example for his kids, embracing the responsibility of being a father and using it is a chance to educate his kids from right and wrong.  Atticus never shows himself to be dissatisfied with fatherhood, understanding that it is his both moral and ethical responsibility to teach Jem and Scout about what it is to be in the world and how to live their lives with honor, dignity, and compassion.  Atticus is an active agent in initiating this education.  On the other hand, Troy is educating his kids through his example of how not to live.  Troy does not see fatherhood as an example to enlighten his children as to how to live, but rather as a burden and one where examples of how not to live is more dominant.  Cory understands his father as one who wishes to give more, but is trapped by his own emotional pain and past, preventing a full embrace of the present and the future.  In this, Troy becomes a model for education of how not to be, how not to live.  Rather than Atticus' affirmative model, Troy's educational value is one that lies in how not to live.