Atticus Finch Quotes With Page Numbers

What passages in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird show that Atticus is respected, tolerant, knowledgeable, or a good parent?

Atticus Finch's devotion to justice and empathy make him a tolerant person and a good parent in To Kill a Mockingbird. He expresses this in various passages throughout the novel when he teaches Scout and Jem lessons about respect and morality, especially by expressing his belief in the importance of understanding another person's perspective.

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One of my personal favorite quotes comes when Scout comes home after her first day of school, dejected by her teacher's instruction that Atticus not teach her to read anymore. Atticus promises to continue with their evening readings as long as Scout continues going to school. To solidify this promise,...

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One of my personal favorite quotes comes when Scout comes home after her first day of school, dejected by her teacher's instruction that Atticus not teach her to read anymore. Atticus promises to continue with their evening readings as long as Scout continues going to school. To solidify this promise, Scout prepares to spit into her hand for a handshake, and Atticus tells her, "We'll consider it sealed without the usual formality" (28), demonstrating his keen sense of humor.

Another moment where Atticus displays a knowledge of his children's antics comes after Miss Maudie's house catches fire. Atticus tells the children that perhaps they can thank Arthur Radley for wrapping her in a blanket on that cold night; the children were so caught up with the fire that they had not noticed Boo there. Jem begins to excitedly act out Boo's emergence from the house, and Atticus dryly tells him, "Do not let this inspire you to further glory, Jeremy" (66).

Atticus tries to explain to Jem and Scout the true meaning of courage after Mrs. Dubose dies. He tells them that though she was quite contrary, she had battled an addiction in her final days and had left the world free of the drug's control over her, which Atticus admires. He explains,

I wanted you to see something about her-I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do (103).

Following the night when the angry mob comes to Tom Robinson's jail cell, Atticus explains to his children that each of those men is still an individual person, and there are actually decent individuals in angry mobs. Jem is confused, pointing out that they wanted to harm Atticus. His father explains,

Son, you’ll understand folks a little better when you’re older. A mob’s always made up of people, no matter what. Mr. Cunningham was part of a mob last night, but he was still a man. Every mob in every little Southern town is always made up of people you know—doesn’t say much for them, does it? (142)

Jem and Atticus have a difficult conversation following Tom's verdict, and Atticus tells his son that twelve reasonable men allowed "something" to come between themselves and reason on the day of the verdict. He explains that this "something" is the unreasonable act of racism:

There’s nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who’ll take advantage of a Negro’s ignorance. Don’t fool yourselves—it’s all adding up and one of these days we’re going to pay the bill for it. I hope it’s not in you children’s time (201).

Atticus Finch provides some of the most powerful insights in literature. I hope these provide a good starting place for locating more examples of his guidance.

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Atticus Finch is an admirable role model and caring parent in To Kill a Mockingbird and offers Jem and Scout an exemplary moral education by teaching them important, relevant life lessons. There are numerous examples of Atticus teaching his children about developing perspective, exercising sympathy, and defending vulnerable individuals.

Atticus not only teaches his children these important life lessons but also acts as a positive role model by living his truth and following his morals. After Atticus decides to defend Tom Robinson, the racist Maycomb community becomes extremely critical of him and his children. When Scout struggles to keep her composure, Atticus settles her down and demonstrates his tolerant personality by saying,

This time we aren’t fighting the Yankees, we’re fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they’re still our friends and this is still our home (69).

Scout heeds her father's advice and refrains from fighting Cecil Jacobs at school. Atticus is also a fair parent and is careful not to take sides when his children argue. By listening to his children, Atticus shows that he is understanding and open-minded. Scout describes her father's patient, fair personality when she tells Uncle Jack,

When Jem an’ I fuss Atticus doesn’t ever just listen to Jem’s side of it, he hears mine too (76).

Atticus also demonstrates his accepting, kind nature by sympathizing with Mrs. Dubose and encouraging Jem to behave like a gentleman when interacting with her. Atticus says,

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 (96).

Although Atticus makes the unpopular decision to defend Tom Robinson, Maycomb's community continues to respect him as a knowledgeable, morally-upright man. Scout goes on to say,

There was one odd thing, though, that I never understood: in spite of Atticus’s shortcomings as a parent, people were content to re-elect him to the state legislature that year, as usual, without opposition (222).

By re-electing Atticus, Maycomb's community shows their respect and admiration for him.

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Examples of Atticus's kindness can be seen all throughout To Kill a Mockingbird. Anytime he puts his own perspective aside by going out of his way to see things from others' point of view, Atticus is being kind, because to be kind is to be considerate.

Atticus first preaches his philosophy about seeing things from others' perspectives when Scout feels miserable after her first day of school. Scout got into trouble that day for making her teacher, Miss Caroline, see her as a smart aleck by already knowing how to read and by trying to explain to her the ways of the Cunningham family. While Atticus sympathizes with Scout, he explains that Scout would have responded to Miss Caroline differently that day had she put herself in Miss Caroline's shoes and not expected her to know "all of Maycomb's ways" (Ch. 3). Atticus explains his philosophy to Scout in the following passage:

"First of all, ... if you 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." (Ch. 3)

Beyond showing kindness by being able to sympathize with Scout while also seeing things from Miss Caroline's perspective, Atticus further shows kindness to Scout by working out a compromise with her. Scout hates the idea of going back to school because Miss Caroline has told Scout to stop reading with her father. Atticus promises that if Scout "concede[s] the necessity of going to school, then [they'll] go on reading every night, just as [they] always have" (Ch. 3). Atticus's ability to see just how much Scout hates the idea of giving up reading with her father and to work out a compromise with her is another example of Atticus being able to acting kindly.

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