What is an example of a chapter that shows Atticus was honest in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An example of Atticus being honest is when he tells Scout that he is not going to win the case.

When Scout is trying to understand why Atticus’s defense of Tom Robinson is so contentious, she asks him if he is going to win the case.

"Atticus, are we going to win it?"

"No, honey."

"Then why-"

"Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win," Atticus said. (ch 9)

Atticus believes that Scout should know how he feels, and should also learn a lesson about perseverance and standing up for what you believe in.

Atticus is honest because he tells his children the truth, even when he would rather they did not know it.  He believes that you should tell children the truth.  He explains this philosophy to his brother, Jack.

"Jack! When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness' sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em.” (ch 9)

Atticus feels that children are better off when adults don’t talk to them like children.  He does not talk down to his kids, and while he sometimes use lawyer speak that they don’t understand, he always explains.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While the narrative of To Kill a Mockingbird is replete with examples of the sterling quality of Atticus's character, his most impressive display of honesty and integrity is exhibited on the night that his children have been attacked by the vengeful Bob Ewell. (These circumstances are related in chapters 29 and 30.)

After Scout relates the details of the attack upon her and how Jem rushed to her rescue as he "yanked him off" her, Atticus is convinced that in defending his sister, "[Jem] probably got ahold of Ewell's knife somehow in the dark" (Ch.29) and stabbed Ewell and killed him. Atticus further states that he knows the deed was done in self-defense, but he needs to go to his office and "hunt up—" information on similar cases. At this point, the sheriff tries to disabuse Atticus of this notion that Jem inflicted the deadly wound into Ewell. But, Atticus thinks that Heck Tate is just trying to protect Atticus's boy. He protests, "' . . . nobody's hushing this up'" (Ch.30). Atticus Finch's integrity and professional ethics are such that he will not compromise the truth for anyone, not even his son. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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