In To Kill a Mockingbird, who is a round character?

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A round character is one, as the name implies, whom we can walk around and see from different angles, as if he or she is a real person. A round character expresses their themselves so that we know what such a character is thinking and feeling. A round character, like...

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A round character is one, as the name implies, whom we can walk around and see from different angles, as if he or she is a real person. A round character expresses their themselves so that we know what such a character is thinking and feeling. A round character, like a person, is a mixture of complex shadings, with both strong and weak points.

A flat character, in contrast, is based on a type and is not fully articulated or developed. Flat characters seem two-dimensional, like a cardboard cutout of a person, and we often don't learn much, if anything, about what they are thinking or what motivates them.

Part of the the strength of To Kill A Mockingbird is the number of round characters in the novel. In addition to Scout and Jem, Calpurnia becomes a rounded character as we see her in own setting in First Purchase Church, and Scout experiences a side of her housekeeper that she has never seen. Scout begins to understand how Calpurnia functions differently in two different cultures, even to the point of changing her speech patterns, and how important her black culture is to Calpurnia. Calpurnia, too, is a mix of traits: she is overall quite a positive character and a good role model for Scout, but can also be harsh and unyielding with her.

Mrs. Dubose gains dimensionality as Jem and Scout get to know her better. She moves from being the stereotypical neighborhood witch who does nothing but insult the children and their father to a person of courage and strength as the children read to her and come to understand that she is shaking off a morphine addiction before she dies.

Mayella is also treated as a rounded character. She is not simply white trash or a young woman who falsely accuses an innocent black man of rape. Lee portrays her sympathetically as a person caught in a lonely, abusive home situation who tries to keep clean, plants flowers, and is reaching out in friendship to Tom when events go awry.

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A round character is defined as a character that has a complex personality with emotional depth, typically develops throughout the narrative, and is a character that the audience can sympathize with. In Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout, Jem, and Atticus are round characters. Scout and Jem are considered round characters because they have emotional depth and experience an inner change as they mature into morally upright individuals. At the beginning of the novel, both Scout and Jem fear their reclusive neighbor and do not fully comprehend the prejudiced nature of their community. As the novel progresses, both siblings realize that Boo Radley is not a "malevolent phantom" and lose their childhood innocence after witnessing racial injustice firsthand. They also develop perspective and learn valuable life lessons from their father. By the end of the novel, Jem and Scout have matured into sympathetic, compassionate children, who truly understand the makeup of Maycomb's community. They are able to identify hypocrisy and prejudice in their community and develop sympathy for innocent, defenseless beings (symbolic mockingbirds).

Atticus is also considered a round character because the audience sympathizes with him and he is depicted as a relatively complex man. As a just lawyer and father, Atticus struggles to defend Tom Robinson from the prejudiced community members while simultaneously raising his children to be morally upright citizens with integrity. Atticus experiences conflict because of his decision to defend Tom Robinson and struggles to protect his children from sharing the same views as their prejudiced neighbors. Atticus's depth of character and response to the community's negative reactions make him a round character. Other than Jem, Scout, and Atticus, the minor characters in the novel could be considered flat characters because they lack a comparable emotional depth and experience of inner change.

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In order to identify a round character in a text, one must first understand what a round character is. A round character is one which is fully defined by the author (fully defined means the character is described physically and mentally). This characterization can be through a direct characterization (meaning readers are told directly about a character) or through indirect characterization (where the reader must infer what the author is trying to say about the character).  Regardless of the use of direct or indirect characterization, a round character is one with whom the reader can relate to, sympathize with, and seem as real as a person who they know in "real life."

In regards to Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, many characters can be considered as round.

Scout is the most prominent character for most readers. She is fully defined both physically and mentally. The way that Scout reacts to certain things can almost be known prior to her actions in the book given readers relate to/know her so well.

Jem is another round character in the novel. Although not as much is divulged about Jem, the characterization provided is enough to allow readers to create a picture of him in their heads.

The last character one could consider a round character is Atticus. As the novel moves forward, readers and his children alike, learn about the man Atticus is. There is no question in the mind of the reader what Atticus stands for, or the extent he will go to in order to do what is right in life.

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