How does Harper Lee present Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird? Use textual evidence for support. 

Expert Answers
huntress eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I cannot complete your homework for you, I'm afraid, but I can give you some pointers. When your teacher asks how Harper Lee presents Atticus Finch, he or she is asking what sort of man you think Atticus is, based on contextual clues (and she made it easy for you, choosing the quotes to work from). The place to start is to read through the clues and make notes about what they tell you about the sort of man Atticus is.

For example, "He said Atticus never talked much about the Radleys: when Jem would question him Atticus’s only answer was for him to mind his own business and let the Radleys mind theirs, they had a right to." Scout and Jem, Atticus's children, believe all the neighborhood (tall) tales about the Radleys and in particular, about Boo. Atticus, however, doesn't want to talk about it. He won't indulge in gossip. Instead, he uses the occasion to teach his children to mind their own business. What does this tell you about the man? 

I see you're also looking for connotations of words. This essentially means that you're looking for the implications of words and phrases in addition to what they denote--their dictionary meanings. The connotations of the above quote are that Atticus believes there's nothing wrong with the Radleys; they should be left in peace and it's rude for people to talk about them. 

Once you've gone through the quotes and collected your observations, you should be able to easily finish the opening sentence you're given ("Harper Less presents Atticus Finch as...." After that, since you've already collected your evidence, finishing with an explanation of what you found from the quotes should be easy.

Good luck! 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question