I need some quotes with page numbers from To Kill a Mockingbird that show how Atticus is a good father.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps the most memorable quote of Atticus Finch is his statement about how it is a sin to kill a mockingbird; afterall, the title itself comes from this statement.  In Chapter 10, the seventh paragraph, Atticus gives his children air-rifles, but he does not teach them to shoot:

Uncle Jack instructed us in the rudiments thereof; he said Atticus wasn't interested in guns.  Atticus said to Jem one day, 'I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds.  Shoot all the bluejays you wnat, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird'

Of course, Atticus implies that the children should never harm an innocent creature.  Symbolically, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are like mockingbirds, the children realize later.  And, the irony of Atticus's not teaching the children to shoot is that he himself is a superb shot as he proves on the day he shoots a rabid dog on their street.

Another example of the honorable man that Atticus is comes prior to his remarks in Chapter 10.  At the end of chapeter 9, Atticus talks with his brother Jack about the forthcoming trial in which he has been assigned to defend Tom Robinson.  Atticus explains how difficult such a defense will be, but he has to accept the job: 

'You know I'd hoped to get through life without a case of this kind, but John Taylor pointed at me...'

'Let this cup pass from you, eh?' [Jack remarks.]

'Right.  But do you  think I could face my children otherwise?  You know what's going to happen as well as I do, Jack, and I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb's usual disease.' [racial bias]

Then, Atticus calls out to Scout as he knows that she has listened.  He wants her to hear.  Scout recounts this realization as she reflects, "...many years later ...I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said."

Earlier in this same chapter, Scout has already asked Atticus why he takes Tom Robinson's case.  Atticus replies in paragraph 16,

'For a number of reasons...The mainone is, if I didn't I couln'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.'

Scout asks him why they would not have to mind him;  Atticus replies,

Because I could never ask you to mind me again.  Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer get 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 doo 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.'

When Mrs. DuBois calls Atticus a "n---lover," Jem cuts the blooms from her camellias in retaliation and anger.  Always the charitable man, Atticus insists that Bub repair the damage by reading to her each day.  He explains to Scout and Jem to not let Mrs. DuBois "get you down in paragraph 108 of Chapter 11:

"It's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name.  It just shows how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you."

After the verdict is given at the trial, Jem and Scout are distraught with the outcome.  They ask their father how the jurors could vote as they have done.  He replies,

'I don't know, but they did it.  They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it--seems that only children weep.  Good night.

This remark in paragraph 18 of Chapter 22 is one that the children will better understand when they are older, yet it making such a remark is another example of Atticus's timely wisdom and the integrity that he demonstrates in the above passages and throughout "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee.

As little Scout drifts off to sleep on the night of her harrowing encounter with Bob Ewell, she tells her father that Boo Radley was "real nice."  Atticus remarks, "Most people are, Scout , when you finally see them" (second paragraph from the last).  And, thus, ends the novel with one of its motifs reiterated by Mr. Finch.


Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the reasons Atticus is a great father, in my opinion, is the way he treats his children like reasonable human beings. For instance, when Scout balks at going to school, fearing that her beloved reading time with her father will be pushed out due to lack of time.

Atticus, in his lawyerly, loving way makes a deal with her. A compromise:

"Do you know what a compromise is?" he asked.

"Bending the law?"

"No, an agreement reached by mutual concessions. It works this way," he said. "if you'll concede the necessity of going to school, we'll go on reading every night just as we always have. Is it a bargain?"

Atticus also is a good father because he sets an example of behavior and honesty. He does not shield the children from tragic events. To do so would not help them mature and would diminish their bond. When Bob Ewell kills himself, Mr. Tate wants Atticus to keep it quiet. Atticus refuses, saying, "Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I've tried to live so I can look squarely back at him...if I connived at something like this, frankly I couldn't mee this eye, and the day I can't do that I'll know I've lost him. I don't want to lose him and Scout, because they're all I've got."

angelacress eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a father Atticus is affectionate with his children, Jem and Scout, ready with a hug when they need comfort and available to spend time reading to them. Although he allows his children freedom to play and explore, he is also a firm disciplinarian, always teaching his children to think of how their actions affect others and devising punishments to teach his children valuable lessons.

For example, When Jem damages the camellia bushes of Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, a neighbor who scolds and insults the children, Atticus sentences him to read to her each day. As Jem reads, he and Scout witness the dying woman's battle against her morphine addiction and learn the true meaning of courage: "it's when you know you're licked before you begin but you see it through no matter what," Atticus tells them. It seems as though Atticus is a good father because he has struck a good balance between being supportive and being an authority figure.

Atticus has instilled in his children his strong sense of morality and justice. He is one of the few residents of Maycomb committed to racial equality. With his strongly held convictions, wisdom, and empathy, Atticus functions as the novel’s moral backbone.

kinder eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus is a great father in many ways. One example of how he is a great father deals with his style of discipline. He tries to lead Jem or Scout, through discussion, to seeing what it is that they have done wrong and why it is wrong. The strongest lesson he taught dealt with how he treated people. He was fair to all. The trial of Tom Robinson taught his children some of the hardest lessons in life. He knew that his children were growing up in a time of horrible treatment to blacks and through his example of giving his best defense to Tom, even though he took a lot of abuse over it, and not keeping secrets from them about the situation made him a great father. The best always lead through example. He never said do as I say not as I do, but gave a strong example of what was right and made his expectations of his children clear.

irichen | Student

Atticus is a great father for Scout and Jem. They both look up to him not only as a father, but as a teacher and friend. As a lawyer, Atticus is required to be fair in all situations. When Tom Robinson is unjustly accused of assaulting Mayella Ewell, Atticus does all that is within his power to prove Tom’s innocence. To Scout, this is huge, because from Atticus’ actions she learns about how to deal with racism. For Jem, he learns how to pursue his dream on becoming a lawyer. This is important to Atticus as a role model, as it ultimately reflects upon Scout and Jem’s personalities and morals. For example, for Mayella, Bob is a terrible father, as he lies, drinks, and does not seem to have any morals. This leads to Mayella not being responsible for her actions in kissing Tom, as she puts the finger of blame onto Tom. While Bob tells Mayella blame Tom for the incident, when Jem gets in trouble on whether or not he killed Bob Ewell, Atticus does not excuse him and wants to call up a court case to solve the problem. This is significant as it shows Scout that abiding by the law applies to all things in life, and avoiding the law for loved ones is not moral.

In addition to being just, Atticus is also very caring. This applies not only to his children, but to the rest of the neighborhood as well. He shows consideration for Mrs. Dubose for being crabby towards both him and his children, and forgiveness towards Mayella for blaming Tom. His love for his children is also a trait that makes him a great father. In contrast, Bob Ewell does not seem to care much for Mayella, only that she does not embarrass him in front of others. This is shown in court, when Bob does not seem to care that Mayella is hysterical, but only that she points the blame at Tom, and not Bob.

mara01 | Student

a bit from an essay i wrote :)

One of the ways that Harper Lee portrays Atticus as a good father figure in the book, To Kill a Mockingbird is seen through the way he teaches his children to treat all people with equality and respect. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."What this quote means is that you have to look at and understand things from the way that other people do. This quote tells us that Atticus is a good father figure as he is trying to instil good moral values into his children; he is endorsing the value of equality. This lesson of equality is important because Maycomb is a town that is full of social prejudices, specifically social prejudice towards the black community. Atticus is a lawyer but he does not use the complex language that you associate with a lawyer. In this quote we see that Atticus utilises basic language so he can effectively communicate with Scout,   ‘climb into his skin and walk around in it’ Atticus uses this sentence to allow Scout to fully comprehend what he is saying.  Not only does Atticus tell his children to treat people equally but he actually acts on his own words, making him a perfect role model. The word ‘skin’ is relevant as further in the book a man is accused of a crime due to skin colour. Atticus takes the Tom Robinson case acting as a defence lawyer. Tom Robinson is accused of rape and due to social prejudice against black people; most of the townspeople of Maycomb are against him, with only Atticus on Tom’s side. The reader can clearly observe that Atticus acts on what he ‘preaches’ to his children. He treats tom Robinson like he would treat a man of any other skin colour. In conclusion to this point it is perfectly justifiable that Atticus is a good father figure to his children.



ashvin7 | Student

Atticus is a great role model for the children. He teaches them morals, as well as portraying them in his life. He teaches them about inner concciousness, that you should always do what you feel is right, and this shows that he is a great father, as well as a great role model. 

Atticus also tells the kids that you don't know a person until you climbed in his skin and walk around it. What he is saying is that don't judge a person who you dpn't know, because you don;t really know what they are going through.

Atticus is a great role model throughout the story, and it seems as if Jem and Scout will turn out to be just like him.


lesli93 | Student

I think that what makes Atticus Finh a good father is that he was compassinate and understanding.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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