Need to compare and contrast Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird with Mr. Bonaparte from the play Golden Boy. 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since his character is not as well-developed by interaction with a variety of characters, it is rather a challenging venture to compare and contrast Mr. Bonaparte of Golden Boy to Atticus Finch. Nevertheless, there are a few areas that can be discussed.


  • Both Bonaparte and Atticus are loving fathers who set good examples for their children by being hard-working and fair with people.
  • They certainly regard spiritual values as much higher than material ones. When, for instance, Atticus risks his job as a lawyer in town by defending Tom Robinson against a false charge of rape, he tells his brother Jack that he does so because he cannot have his children grow up with "Maycomb's usual disease" of irrational bias. Likewise, Mr. Bonaparte tries to remind his son what music means to him. He tells his friend that his boy has "big a'trouble in his heart. He no prize a'fighter." Further, Mr. Bonaparte values not the money that Joey makes from his boxing wins--he returns Joey's $600--but, insteads values the beautiful music which his son can play on the violin. Bonaparte fulling understands that music speaks to the soul while boxing only corrupts one's soul. 
  • Both fathers correct their children when they are wrong. Countless times Atticus corrects Scout, first telling her to try to walk around in the skin of someone else, to respect Boo Radley's privacy, to not use the pejorative names for races, etc. Mr. Bonaparte says to Joey, "You tell me you happy?" in a sarcastic way, knowing that his son will miss his music. In the scene of his locker room, Bonaparte tells his son in his broken English, "too late for music. I give you the word to fight....I sorry for you."


  • Mr. Bonaparte is an Italian immigrant who lives in a poor ethnic neighborhood; Atticus Finch is a successful lawyer, an educated man who is highly regarded in his town.
  • Mr. Bonaparte is not as clever as Atticus is in dealing with his children. Bonaparte speaks directly to Joey, appealing to him in a heartfelt manner, but in such a way that leaves few alternatives. He has fewer opportunities to demonstrate his values as Atticus does. In contrast, Atticus cleverly lets his daughter Scout overhear him when he speaks of "Maycomb's disease," and he speaks where his children hear him in the front yard when Sheriff Tate and others come to convince him to ask for a different venue for the trial; further, he demonstrates his courage before the Old Sarum mob.
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Golden Boy

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