What are some quotes that indirectly characterize how/what Atticus thinks?
In Chapter 10, Scout and Jem witness Atticus shoot and kill a rabid dog in one shot. Both children are in awe of their father's ability and are shocked that Atticus never mentioned to them that he was the deadliest shot in Maycomb. When Atticus leaves the scene, Scout tells Jem that she cannot wait to go to school to brag to her friends about Atticus. Jem responds by saying,
"Don't say anything about it, Scout...I reckon if he'd wanted us to know it, he'da told us. If he was proud of it, he'da told us" (Lee 62).
Atticus' refusal to tell his children about his rare talent indirectly characterizes him as a humble man. Atticus is also indirectly characterized as a civilized individual who does not find the idea of killing animals appealing.
Another quote that indirectly characterizes Atticus can be found at the beginning of Chapter 23. Bob Ewell challenges Atticus and asks if he is too proud to fight. Atticus responds by saying,
"No, too old" (Lee 134).
Atticus' response indirectly characterizes him as a tolerant, calm man who has self-control.
It could be argued that Atticus is an independent thinker and opinionated, but neither pushy nor outspoken. He is intelligent, insighful, and above everything, he's respectful. Even when people and circumstances go against him, he treats everyone and everything involved with respect.
There are several examples that show this in the book. He is the same man as a father (Jem and Scout) as he is to friends and family (Aunt Alexandra, Uncle Jack, or Miss Maudie) as he is to neighbors he is not particularly familiar with (Mrs. Dubose or Boo Radley).
I encourage you to re-read through some key conversations he has with both his children and adults in the story (indirect characterization through dialogue). Notice how his language, demeanor, and core values remain constant:
- Atticus and Scout lesson on porch (chapter 3, pg. 30)
- Conversation with Uncle Jack (chapter 9, pg. 87)
- Atticus and Mrs. Dubose (chapter 11, p. 100)
- Atticus and Boo Radley (chapter 30, p. 271)