What are 5 symbols of Atticus Finch and why are these symbols?Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The moral voice of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch possesses many sterling qualities that are displayed throughout the novel.  While there are many qualities that render themselves to symbolic representation, here are a few suggestions

  1. the finch- Since this is the surname of Atticus, this little bird must be used by Harper Lee for good reason.  He is a community bird, for one thing; Atticus, too, certainly has a strong sense of community as he always tries to maintain amicable relations with his neighbors and townspeople.  Also, the little bird possesses a gentle personality just as Atticus does.  Whenever there is conflict, Atticus calmly explains what is right to the children.
  2. spectacles/eyeglasses - Atticus is known for having a bad eye, yet he can still shoot well.  He compensates for his weak eyesight by understanding that he must "climb into the skin" of others in order to be objective about them.
  3. the Mobile Register - Atticus is a very literate man who teaches his children so subtly that they do not even realize they are learning.  Miss Caroline is upset that her father has already taught her to read, but Scout does not know when he has done so; she believes that she just picked up the paper one day and read.  In addition, this newspaper can symbolize Atticus as he is very civic and extends his horizons beyond Maycomb.
  4. the courthouse/courtroom-  As a lawyer and representative of Maycomb, Atticus strives to be fair to all.  He defends the rights of the oppressed Tom Robinson because he does not want his children to grow up with the "usual disease" of Maycomb.
  5. a three-pieced pinstriped suit- Always a gentleman, Atticus is well-bred and kind.  In the film version of the novel, he is always portrayed as wearing his suits.

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