Atticus is from one of the most prominent families in Maycomb County, but he doesn't think this makes him better than anyone else. Instead, he is a kind, honest, well-respected man. He allows Jem and Scout to play and explore, and he's very affectionate with them, but he also believes in disciplining the children, teaching them to think of others by "walking in their shoes". He wants Jem and Scout to know how their actions affect others, trying to teach them valuable life lessons in the process. An example is when Jem destroys Mrs. Dubose's camellia bushes, and Atticus makes him read to her each day. When Atticus defends Tom Robinson, he shows the children what real courage is by going against what society believes. He tries to teach them integrity and tolerance in a racist, intolerant society.
Alexandra, Atticus's sister, is the opposite of Atticus in just about every way. She represents the traditional, white Southern woman of the time who feels people have their place in society. Coming from an important family is everything to her. She thinks Atticus is not raising his children correctly, especially Scout. Alexandra thinks Scout should be raised as a young lady and should not be allowed to roam the neighborhood dressed like a tomboy. She doesn't approve of Atticus's defense of Tom Robinson, but she does become upset when she hears about Tom's death.