What do you think of Atticus as a father and an employer?What do you think of Atticus as a father and an employer?
Atticus is an unconventional father. That is not to say that he doesn't love and care for his children. It is just that Atticus is a rare man (and father) in many regards. In fact, he seems to treat Jem and Scout as adults. That is one reason they call him by his first name. When Scout takes up cussing, Atticus doesn't reprimand her, knowing full well that it would just make her swear more. Instead he leaves her to cuss until she realizes it is not the proper thing to do.
Unlike many parents, Atticus would never resort to telling Scout or Jem, "Do as I say, not as I do." Miss Maudie tells Scout that "'Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets'" (46). This is the main reason that he stands up to defend Tom Robinson. Later Atticus informs Scout that "'if I didn't [stand up to defend Tom] I couldn'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'" (74). Atticus must always practice what he preaches.
As an employer, Atticus is the same way. He undoubtedly treats Calpurnia better than most people in Maycomb would treat their colored help. He acknowledges that Cal is more than just his employer, she is vital to their family. He tells Scout that it would be impossible for them to function without Cal. He knows full well that Cal serves as a mother figure for Scout.
As an employer, Atticus is a fair and respectful man. Calpurnia is almost a member of the family. Atticus respects and trusts her to guide and discipline the children in his absence. Calpurnia represents the maternal influence for Scout and Jem, and Atticus values her help. He also backs her up when the children criticize the fairness of her actions.
As a father, Atticus is a loving and affectionate parent, but certainly not a pushover. Atticus takes parenting seriously, and while he encourages them to think for themselves, he also stresses the importance of thinking how their actions will affect others. He does not punish the children out of anger, but uses the mistake to teach them a lesson in life. This is evident when he made Jem read to Mrs. Dubose every day for trampling her camellia bushes. Jem learned there was more to understand about the cranky old woman who constantly scolded them.
Atticus gives his children the love and attention they need.He does what is best for them, even at times if it seems unusual, such as letting them attend the trial.
One of the things that always impressed me about To Kill a Mockingbird was Atticus' decision not to remarry after the death of his wife. Many men in the position of being left with very small children might remarry so that the chldren might have a full-time mother to raise them. He did hire Calpurnia as his housekeeper, and she did fill the role of a mother figure, but Atticus never brought another woman into the home on a permanent basis. That's admirable in its own right. The fact that he still talks about the children's mother with them shows his love and respect for his wife's memory.
As an employer, Atticus demonstrates his fairness and open mindedness in hiring Calpurnia and allowing her to have a free reign in helping to raise his two children. The prevailing attitudes of the South towards Black people did not find themselves in the Atticus Finch household, and he treated Calpurnia with respect and paid her a fair wage.
All of these traits make Atticus Finch an admirable character.
Atticus and Scout have an unconventional relationship in some ways. She learns to read by sitting on his lap as they read the paper. She calls him Atticus--and he lets her. He doesn't overreact to anything much that Scout does--and she does a lot of fairly unconventional things. He really does seem to have perfect pitch when it comes to handling his precocious daughter.
In other ways their relationship is conventional. He teaches her how to live by his own example. He treats her with respect and answers any questions she asks. He understands her and knows the right approach to take in terms of punishment and giving her information.
Let's face it, this is kind of a unique situation and they are two unique personalities; despite that, many things about their lives are pretty normal.
I wouldn't mind being Calpurnia one bit. I know that she feels loved and welcomed, respected, and appreciated at the Finch residence. Atticus is such a good man with her that he trusts her with his children and does not question her dynamics with them. He also is open to listen to Cal's side of the story and knows for a fact that she is a reliable and trustworthy employee- What could be best than to work for someone like that?
As far as his children are concerned, Atticus does what he cans within the limits of his circumstances. He understands his limitations and the mistakes he has made before, but instead of knocking himself over them, he simply tries his best to prevent his children from committing such mistakes. He is a great dad and a wonderful employee.
Atticus is definitely not a type A person, and he is very rational and objective, so he would make a terrific employer. As a father, he seems rather too lenient. While he is fortunate to have rational children of a high intelligence, not all children are such rational little beings. Sometimes there are children who do not respond to Socratic conversations.