In "To Kill a Mockingbird" what picture of Atticus as a father do we get in chapter 2?  

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can help you out with one of those questions; for the others, try submitting each one separately, as the guidelines of this website allow for one question a day.

In chapter 2 of "To Kill a Mockingbird," Atticus is seen as a distant but loving father.  In the second paragraph, it states that parents usually brought their children to school on their first day, but that with Scout's first day, "Atticus had said Jem would be delighted to show me" to the school, and to her room.  So, here, instead of personally delivering Scout to the school, Atticus gives the job to Jem.  He is a bit distant and uninvolved in things like that as a parent, but Jem is a great substitute.  We also learn that Atticus is attentive and loving in other, less obvious ways.  For example, Scout learned to read, simply by spending time reading with Atticus because he let her hang out with him while he read.  We also get some back-story on the Cunninghams, and in telling about them, we see Atticus's unique style of fathering, in that he treats his children more like little adults than kids.  He explains, in full, why the Cunninghams are unique, and answers frankly to Scout's question of whether or not he was poor with, "We are indeed."  So, as a father, he has the philosophy that answering his kids' questions honestly is the best way.

All in all, Atticus is not a rough-housing, openly loving and exuberant man.  Instead, he is rather distant, reserved in his attentions and affection; yet, he is open, honest, and trusting with his children.  He shows love through letting them spend time doing what he is doing, and in answering their questions in a way that makes them feel like they are grown up.  I hope that those thoughts help a bit; good luck!

engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus is portrayed in Chapter 2 as a loving-yet-remote father figure. While he encourages his children's academic development by using activities like newspaper reading with Scout, it is also quite clear that his work as an attorney is at the forefront of his life.

On Scout's first day of school, Atticus delegates the responsibility of "showing her the ropes" to Jem, Scout's big brother. This is only one of many instances where big brother Jem fills in as an authority. Atticus's approach as a father is to treat his children with dignity and assumed maturity so that they will develop into pragmatic and responsible adults. This approach sometimes seems to borderline harshness or emotional coldness, but Atticus is treating his children in that way for their own good, as we learn later.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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