What is Atticus' role as a single father in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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Atticus's role as a father is a difficult one. First, he is a single parent with some rather unorthodox methods of child rearing. Second, he has to battle his sister's traditional ways of raising the kids (making them aware of their supposedly prestigious position in Maycomb society, making them live up to the Finch name and its history, to teach them the proper social codes of Maycomb, and, especially, to make sure Scout becomes a proper young lady). Third, and most difficult of all, he has to raise his kids so they both respect their fellow citizens of Maycomb without catching the "usual disease" (racism). This, by far, will be Atticus's most challenging objective.

Atticus plans to accomplish this last task by practicing what he preaches. He is always admonishing Scout to not judge someone before she has considered what the world looks like from their perspective. By modeling this constantly for the children, Atticus is setting a great example. He stands up for what he believes, yet he always is cordial and respectful to the opposition. Even more importantly, he is able to see the good in all people. One of the most vile characters is Miss Lafayette Dubose. She berates Atticus's good name in front of the children. Yet, Atticus also calls her the bravest person he has ever met. If you examine these three things and how Atticus handles them, you should be able to find plenty of material and evidence for you assignment.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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