What are some things that the other characters have said about Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Whenever someone possesses a strong character, people usually feel strongly about this person, either admiring or disparaging him. Such is the case with Atticus Finch, whose admirers are many, but his enemies few.

  • Miss Maudie - The neighbor and friend of Atticus Finch, Miss Maudie tries to explain to the children that the Radleys may have secrets that go on inside there house that others cannot imagine, but Scout says that Atticus does not treat her any differently when she is inside or outside. Kindly, Miss Maudie remarks, "Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets."  Later, when the children see their father shoot the rabid dog and they are amazed at his expert aim, they wonder why he does not hunt. But, Miss Maudie explains,

"If your father's anything, he's civilized in his heart. Marksmanship's a gift of God, a talent....I think maybe he put his gun down when he realized that God had given him an unfair advantage over most living things."

  • Francis - The cousin of Jem and Scout, Francis tells Scout, "I guess it ain't your fault if Uncle Atticus is a n***r-lover besides, but I'm here to tell you it certainly does mortify the rest of the family--" This remark enrages Scout so much that she fights with Francis.
  • Mrs. DuBose - Another neighbor of the Finches, Mrs. DuBose derogates Atticus, saying to Jem and Scout, "Your father's no better than the n****rs and trash he works for!" Then, when Jem must read to her, she would allude to Atticus's "n****r-loving propensities."
  • In Chapter 13, the children learn from their father that Aunt Alexandra does not think he is raising them correctly,

"Your aunt has asked me to try and impress upon you and Jean Louise that you are not from run-of-the-mill people, that you are the product of several generations' gentle breeding--"

  • The Idlers' Club - The men who make a habit of sitting outside the courthouse express their opinions about Atticus Finch's acting as defense attorney for Tom Robinson:

"...thinks he know what he's doing," "oh-h now, I souln't say that," says another. "Atticus Finch's a deep reader, a mighty deep reader."

When one Idler points out that the court has appointed Atticus, another counters,"Yeah, but Atticus aims to defend him. That's what I don't like about it."

  • Aunt Rachel - After the trial, Dill's aunt says, "If a man like Atticus Finch wants to butt his head against a stone wall it's his head.
  • Bob Ewell - When Atticus is in town, Ewell spits in his face and taunts him, "Too proud to fight, you n***r-lovin' bastard?" Also, after Tom dies, Ewell said "...it made one down and about two more to go."
  • Mrs. Merriweather - At the Missionary Tea in the Finch home, the sanctimonious Mrs. Merriweather says," I tell you there are some good but misguided people in this town. Good, but misguided. Folks in this town who think they're doing right, I mean."
  • Mr. Underwood - In his editorial, Mr. Underwood implies of Atticus, according to Scout, the narrator,

...Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. 

Sources:
shonasharma's profile pic

shonasharma | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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i simply loved the drama which was based on the novel and what made it more interesting was indeed the different attitudes of other characters towards Atticus.

Scout and Jem in the beginning think that their father is good for nothing except for his work, reading and all those things which other "real man" don't do. They  are sort of ashamed of their father; they cannot help the thought of their father saying no to manly activities like air rifles and playing touch rugby to name a few. But it only takes a dog and a gun to show them the other side of the coin. When Atticus is able to knock out the dog with a gun just in the first shot, he becomes a hero in the eyes of his children.

Other characters, for example, miss Maudie, and Calphurnia, believe that if there is an ideal man and that too a white, that is Atticus Finch. They Saluted his bravery of standing up for the blacks even though the rest of the white society found it foolish and risky(to risk reputation).

Most importantly the society's view mattered.

Some found Atticus to be mad. They just laughed it out saying that he would be wasting time trying to save a black. in fact favoring a black was the first act of foolishness for some people.

On the other hand, some people, the whites, wanted to do what Atticus had done, but they weren't brave enough. Hence, they were dependent on Mr. Finch "for their dirty chores". Someone who could speak and do the right thing which needs to be done.

That is one way as to how we can call the story "to kill a mocking bird". A mocking bird is a bird which copies everyone's songs or sounds. In the society, every white tries to copy another white who is against the blacks. It is Atticus who tries to kill these mocking birds.

Some realize this effort of Atticus and support him, some realize but pretend that they have not while some just prefer to be these mocking birds.

omgshutup01's profile pic

omgshutup01 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

he left the farm they owned and he is a lawyer 

k bye

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