To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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Please provide a good hook for an essay about how Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird is a good father.

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Good hooks can start with an interesting quote, a short anecdote, a thoughtful rhetorical question, or a statement that rings a profound truth about the subject to be discussed in the essay. Sometimes writing out the essay first can help a writer to discover that truth. Then go back and write the hook after the essay is written. In this case, the truth to be discovered is Atticus from Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is a father, brother, widower, lawyer, state legislator, and a pillar of his community. (That list of facts could be tweaked into a good opening statement, in fact.) Consider how Atticus speaks and acts to discover the quality of his character and then a profound statement can be created.

Essential passages that highlight the truth found in Atticus Finch can help. Take for example when Miss Maudie and Scout are discussing people in the community who hide secrets behind closed doors. Scout defends her father and Miss Maudie agrees as follows:

"'Atticus don't ever do anything to Jem and me in the house that he don't do in the yard,' I said, feeling it my duty to defend my parent.

'Gracious child. . . I'll say this: Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets'" (46).

The above passage shows that people know that Atticus doesn't have anything shameful to hide from the community and is an upstanding man. This would be good to used if the essay is about his good character.

Next, from Jem's perspective, he sees Atticus as a mystery; but every time he learns something new about his father, he adds to his list of talents for his father. Jem is amazed to learn that his father is a dead shot when he kills a mad dog, but he proudly tells Scout that "Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!" (99). This could be a good quote to use about his character or as and example of a good male role model for Jem.

Finally, the community respects Atticus for the honorable man he is whether they spit in his face or honor him. The best way Tom Robinson's community showed their respect and appreciation for Atticus defending Tom was to give him loads of food the next morning after the trial. Atticus was humbled to the point that he couldn't touch the food they brought him. Also, they showed their respect by standing and waiting for Atticus to exit the courtroom before they left after Tom's trial. Reverend Sykes taught Scout to honor her father in the following passage:

"I looked around. They were standing. All around us and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Sykes's voice was a distant as Judge Taylor's: 'Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'" (211).

For a good hook about Atticus, determine the focus--whether it is about being a father, a leader in the community, or a humble man--and then use any one of the references above to help out.

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