What are important actions of major characters (ie. Jem, Atticus, Dill) in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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ATTICUS FINCH.  Atticus shows great courage in deciding to defend Tom Robinson, knowing it will make him a few enemies and trouble for his family. Atticus knows he cannot win the case: No jury is likely to accept the word of a black man over Bob and Mayella Ewell's, even if the Ewells are the most despicable family in town. But Atticus defends Tom to the best of his ability, and he seems to prove Tom's innocence to everyone but the jury.

JEM FINCH.  Jem's greatest moment comes at the end of the story when he does his best to protect sister Scout from the murderous Bob Ewell. He suffers a broken elbow--and misses seeing Boo Radley--but he recovers (as we find out on the first page of the novel) and goes on to play football, just as he had always planned.

DILL HARRIS.  Dill's quick thinking saves the day for Jem on the night when the children raid the Radley back porch and Jem loses his pants while making a getaway. When Miss Stephanie exclaims, "Jem Finch!" and Atticus calmly questions,

"Where are your pants, son?"

it is Dill who comes up with the right answer--albeit an untruthful one.

"We were playin' strip poker up yonder by the fishpool."

As Scout explains, strip poker (she had no idea what it meant) wasn't as bad as the truth, even if it had something to do with gambling.

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gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Atticus: Atticus teaches Jem and Scout important life lessons that concern gaining perspective, having courage, and applying tolerance. Atticus shoots and kills a rabid dog that is wandering through the streets of Maycomb. Atticus saves Tom Robinson's life before the trial by defending him against the Old Sarum bunch outside of the jail. Atticus also valiantly defends Tom Robinson in front of a prejudiced jury.

Jem: Jem loses his pants during a nighttime raid of the Radley yard and returns to the yard alone to retrieve his pants. Jem also loses his temper and destroys Mrs. Dubose's camellia bush. Jem loses his childhood innocence after witnessing the Tom Robinson trial. He also breaks his arm attempting to defend Scout against Bob Ewell's attack.

Dill: Dill plays the role of any character in the children's summertime dramas. He also encourages Jem to explore the Radley home and entertains the children with his fascinating lies. A significant moment in the novel that involves Dill takes place during Tom Robinson's testimony. Dill gets extremely upset and sick when he witnesses the prosecutor speaking disrespectfully towards Tom Robinson. Scout is forced to walk Dill out of the courtroom, and it is then that they meet Dolphus Raymond.

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