What in particular does To Kill a Mockingbird say about "fathers and children?"I need a thesis for my essay. :)

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It seems that in the case of most of the children in the novel, the old adage about "nuts not falling far from the tree" seems to apply. Jem and Scout exhibit many of the same traits as their father: They love to read and have a true yearning for learning; they treat people--black and white--fairly; they take to heart Atticus's advice to "climb into his skin and walk around in it" before judging others; and they use him as a role model as they grow older. Jem is particularly proud of his father, telling Scout that

"... I wouldn't care if he couldn't do a blessed thing...
Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!"  (Chapter 10

Burris Ewell is certainly a chip off the old block, a younger version of his deadbeat father, Bob. Both are dirty, crude, uneducated and disrespectful to women. Mayella also takes after her father in some ways: She proves to be dishonest, cowardly and racist, siding with Bob's story that Tom Robinson raped her, and she seems unconcerned that her lies will send Tom to jail and result in his death.

Walter Cunningham Jr. seems to take after his own father in some respects. Young Walter comes to school hungry because his family is too poor to provide him with a meal or lunch money. But like his father, Walter is honest, down-to-earth, and a hard worker, failing to complete the first grade because he is needed to labor on the Cunningham's farm.

Nathan Radley also takes after his father. They both make their living in the same way--they "bought cotton"--and Nathan becomes Boo's caretaker after old Mr. Radley dies. Nathan is slightly more friendly: Unlike his father, he "would speak to us... when we said good morning," but Nathan also maintains the cruel punishment toward Boo that began with his father. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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