In How To Kill a Mockingbird how does Atticus challenge the status quo?

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus does many things differently than others in Maycomb. Take the way he raises his children, for example. He has taught Scout to read before she starts school, much to the chagrin of her teacher. He does not insist that she wear a dress and allows her to follow her natural inclination to be a tomboy. He has taught his children to respect everyone, even if they are poor, hence Jem freely invites Walter Cunningham to lunch one day. He refuses to brag about his skill as a marksman and no one, even his children, even know how good a shot he is. This is a pretty big deal in the southern town where he lives. Normally, men would be bragging about this.

Atticus also treats blacks with respect. When it comes to choosing an attorney to represent Tom Robinson, the judge automatically appoints Atticus for, as Miss Maudie says, there is no one else who would have done such a good job. The judge knew that Atticus would defend Tom just as well as he would defend any white man. Atticus also refuses to join in with the other townspeople in treating the Radley family any differently than he would treat his other neighbors. Unlike Aunt Alexandra, he does not make a big deal of his family ancestry, so he challenges the status quo in this regard as well.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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