The heroic character of Atticus is intended to serve as a model and an inspiration to the reader, just as he was to his children, and especially to Scout. Atticus is a model of courage, of tolerance, of justice, and is also a model father. He takes on the legal defense of a black man who is falsely accused of a violent crime. Atticus shows patience, wisdom, and strength even when he is defeated because of the racial prejudice of an all-white jury. The story of To Kill a Mockingbird also teaches us about what the Deep South was like during the Great Depression. The South has changed somewhat since then, but there is still a lot of racial prejudice. The injustice suffered by Tom Robinson conveys a lesson that everyone should receive equal treatment under the law.