"It is the job of a parent to lead his or her children safely out into the world." Does your reading of To Kill a Mockingbird support this statement? What sort of world do the children discover,...

"It is the job of a parent to lead his or her children safely out into the world." Does your reading of To Kill a Mockingbird support this statement? What sort of world do the children discover, and how effective is Atticus' leadership?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I do believe that the job of a parent, or at least a part of the job of a parent, is  to lead his or her children into the world. Parents have the responsibility and privilege, because they are guardians. 

Now as for whether To Kill a Mockingbird supposings this statement, I believe it does. Atticus does not explicitly say this, but by his interaction with Jem and Scout, it is clear that he takes his responsibility seriously to guide his children. A few examples will make this point clear. 

First, Atticus shows great empathy and explains his actions to his children. We see this clearly, when he provides services to Mr. Cunningham without payment. Instead, he takes farm goods. Here is a quote:

We watched. One morning Jem and I found a load of stovewood in the back yard. Later, a sack of hickory nuts appeared on the back steps. With Christmas came a crate of smilax and holly. That spring when we found a crokersack full of turnip greens, Atticus said Mr. Cunningham had more than paid him.

Second, Atticus offers lessons on life, such as courage. This is one of the reasons why he wanted Jem to read to Mrs. Dubose. He wanted Jem to see what courage really is. Here is the quote about this:

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.”

Finally, Atticus models integrity. He say that he is defending Tom Robinson, even though he knows that he will lose. For his children to be people of integrity, he has to be one as well. Here is a quote:

“Because I could never ask you to mind me again. Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one’s mine, I guess. You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ‘em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change... it’s a good one, even if it does resist learning.”

In view of these example, Atticus is an amazing father, who takes his role seriously to raise his children to face the world. 

Sources:

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