What is revealed about the character of Atticus in Chapters 2 and 3 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout paints a pretty good picture of her attorney father in the opening chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird. We discover that Atticus regularly accepts payment for his legal services in barter or trade goods from his poorer clients. He is a trusting man who believes he will be paid in time, as he is by Walter Cunningham. When Walter's son joins Jem and Scout for dinner, Atticus welcomes the boy and "he and Atticus talked together like two men, to the wonderment of Jem and me." Scout soon learns from Calpurnia that any house guest in the Finch home should be treated as company. Atticus always makes time to spend with Scout each evening, and he tries to help her with her problems: When Scout decides she doesn't want to return to school, Atticus comes up with a "compromise" that solves the problem with Miss Caroline. Atticus's bending of the law appeals to Scout, but his advice to step into another person's shoes to better understand their point of view is one that she will remember for years to come. Atticus, who never attended public school, wants his own children to get the best education possible; and though he is a single father, his children are never lacking for attention. Atticus can be influential as well as entertaining, and he

... kept us in fits that evening, gravely reading columns of print about a man who sat on a flagpole for no discernible reason, which was reason enough for Jem to spend the following Saturday aloft in the treehouse...  (Chapter 3)

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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