To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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What is a good quote that really shows how Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird is a kind and helpful character?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter 11, the audience is introduced to Mrs. Dubose, the Finch family's racist neighbor. After she makes several derogatory comments to Jem and Scout about their father, Jem loses his temper and destroys her camellia bush. Later that evening, Atticus punishes his son and Jem must apologe to Mrs. Dubose. Atticus then reveals his tolerant, compassionate nature by telling his son,

Jem, she’s old and ill. You can’t hold her responsible for what she says and does. Of course, I’d rather she’d have said it to me than to either of you, but we can’t always have our ‘druthers. (Lee, 108)

Atticus does not criticize Mrs. Dubose for her racist, despicable remarks and forgives her instead. He then demonstrates his considerate, compassionate personality by helping Mrs. Dubose conquer her morphine addiction. Atticus does not harbor any negative feelings towards Mrs. Dubose and turns her hate into kindness.

In chapter 16, Atticus once again displays his tolerant, magnanimous personality by forgiving Mr. Cunningham for threatening his life the previous night. Despite Mr. Cunningham's serious transgressions, Atticus does not judge or criticize him. Instead, Atticus forgives Mr. Cunningham and demonstrates his kind personality by telling his children,

Mr. Cunningham’s basically a good man...he just has his blind spots along with the rest of us. (Lee, 159)

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psmortimer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think Atticus Finch is a man of principals and innate kindness. He knows it is his job to make the world a better place and to defend those that cannot defend themselves. Unlike many characters who are also parents, however, Atticus chooses to lead by example and to practice what he preaches.

 

These are two of my favorite quotes:

"There's a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep 'em all away from you. That's never possible."

"'First of all,' he said, 'if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.'"

 

 

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