What are some hero traits that Atticus Finch represents from the book "To Kill A Mockingbird"

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litgeek2015 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus Finch has many, many qualities that heroes usually have. Here are just a handful:

Integrity: Atticus takes on Tom Robinson's case when no one else will. It is a case he knows he will lose, but he also knows Tom is innocent and that he deserves as fair of a trial and defense as can be given. This episode alone shows what type of strong moral character Atticus has.

Bravery: Despite the risks that come with representing Tom Robinson, Atticus takes the case anyway. He is threatened outside of the jail by a mob ready to hurt Tom, and he even expects that his children might face some harsh criticism at school for his choice to represent Tom. Even so, he takes this case and he physically goes to the jail to prevent Tom from being hurt (brave!) and he encourages his children not to listen to any of the back-talk they might hear, which encourages them to be brave as well. 

Compassion: Atticus demonstrates this many times over in the book, but one clear example is when he allows the Cunnighams, and other families, to pay him in the form of food. This shows compassion for their dire financial situation in two ways: he is willing to provide them services knowing they cannot pay him with money and he is wiling to accept alternate forms of payment. It would have been easy to simply not help them, but that is not who Atticus is. He has compassion and feels everyone deserves to be treated as people - even those who are down on their luck.

Wisdom: In the beginning of the book Atticus tells Scout that being able to see something from someone else's perspective is a valuable thing. This shows that he is not biased, he understands that everyones' experiences are valid, and that his own perspective is not the only one to take into consideration. This shows wisdom because he recognizes that he is only one small part of a whole.


Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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