In To Kill A Mockingbird, the Finch family is not a typical representation of the people of Maycomb County. Atticus has always taught his children to respect the rights and opinions of others and he intends to teach them about the devastating effects of prejudice and injustice. He knows he cannot win Tom Robinson's trial but he feels duty-bound to give Tom, an innocent man, his best effort. Atticus never judges people and wants his children to see others' perspectives. When he talks to Jem after Mrs. Dubose dies he reveals his way of taking a stand for what he believes:
1. He says, "...You know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what..." (ch 11)
2. He tells Scout why he must do his best to defend an innocent Tom: "I couldn't hold up my head in town, I couldn't represent this county in the legislature, I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again..." (ch 9)
3. After Tom is found guilty, Atticus still doesn't give up. “We’re not through yet. There’ll be an appeal, you can count on that." He intends to keep trying. (ch 22)
Miss Maudie is not like most of the Maycomb County residents either. Unlike many of the other women, she does not gossip and she is a friend to the children, always honest. She tells Scout that she is not a "foot-washing" Baptist and she always shows her support for Atticus. Scout knows that "Miss Maudie’s voice was enough to shut anybody up" (ch 5) because she stands up for what she believes.
1. Miss Maudie shows her support for those who try to make a difference when she says, "Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident? That Judge Taylor might have had his reasons for naming him?" (ch 22) She also reveals that changing the perceptions of Maycomb County residents seems an almost impossible task but even the fact that the jury deliberates for so long shows that "we’re making a step—it’s just a babystep, but it’s a step.”
2. Miss Maudie's sarcasm is often her way of making a stand. In chapter 24, listening to the Missionary Circle ladies and their hypocritical talk, she says, "His food doesn’t stick going down, does it?” Scout notices that "Two tight lines had appeared at the corners of her mouth."
3. Miss Maudie does not intend to do things just to please other judgmental people, as she says, "Foot-washers ... passed by this place and told me me and my flowers were going to hell.” She continues to make Scout understand, "sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of—oh, of your father." This confirms the hypocrisy evident in the town and with which Miss Maudie will not be associated.
Scout is the narrator and the story is told from her perspective.
1. Scout tries to stand up for Walter Cunningham by telling Miss Caroline that he will not accept her kindness. As the narrator, she muses that "I thought I had made things sufficiently clear..." (ch 5)
2. In chapter 9, Scout, despite having been told not to fight, is ready to defend her father when Cecil Jacobs is rude. Although she doesn't understand what he meant, she knows he is being offensive. "'You can just take that back, boy!'.....My fists were clenched and I was ready to let fly."
2. Scout comes to her own conclusions about the social issues in Maycomb County and is able to simplify them, revealing that it is only right to treat everyone equally. She says, "...there's just one kind of folks. Folks." (ch 23)