Is what ways do people's perspectives of Atticus change throughout To Kill a Mockingbird?I have to write a speech for my English task and have to show how the character developed, so I chose...

Is what ways do people's perspectives of Atticus change throughout To Kill a Mockingbird?

I have to write a speech for my English task and have to show how the character developed, so I chose Atticus (bad decision) and how people's perspectives of him changed throughout the novel. I'm struggling with ideas. Would be happy if anyone could help me out. (: Thanks!

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I agree that you may have a challenging task since I think the characters' perspectives about Atticus change little during the course of the novel. The people of Maycomb already recognize Atticus as one of the town's leaders (he is elected unopposed for the state legislature each term), and they know what to expect from him. Jem and Scout do come to view their father in a different perspective, especially after discovering about his secret marksmanship skills. Jem realizes why Atticus has never bragged about being "the deadest shot in the county" after Miss Maudie explains that "People in their right minds never take pride in their talents." It is a lesson in humility for Jem, and he feels an immense pride in his father, despite his advanced age, feebleness and bad eyesight.

"... I wouldn't care if he couldn't do a blessed thing... Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!"  (Chapter 10)

The lynch mob must have had a change of heart after Atticus made it clear that he would stand in their way--alone if necessary--to prevent them from hanging Tom. A member of the mob proved to be the lone holdout on the jury, proving to Atticus that "once you earned their respect they were for you tooth and nail." Aunt Alexandra seems to have finally given up her desire to take charge of the Finch household after Atticus firmly assures his sister that Calpurnia would remain as the housekeeper for as long as "she wants to." Alexandra comes to recognize that the children are not as desperate for a woman's touch as she had imagined, and that Atticus was providing a solid parental influence. Sheriff Tate catches a rare glimpse of Atticus in a weak moment when Atticus mistakenly believes that it was Jem who had killed Bob; Tate has to assure Atticus that it was not Jem, but Boo who had killed Bob.

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