Why is Atticus the most important character in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although Scout serves as the narrator and protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird, her father Atticus becomes the single most important and memorable character. Atticus is the man who molds Scout's and Jem's lives, serving as a role model for both of the children. They finally come to understand that Atticus is something special. They hear that he is an extraordinary man from people like Miss Maudie, Dolphus Raymond, and even Aunt Alexandra; and they see for themselves that he has special talents, ranging from his secret marksmanship skill to his power in the courtroom to his repeatedly running unopposed for election in the Alabama legislature. His legacy is so great that he ranks as one of the most enduring characters in American literature. Though fictional, Atticus is a model to many generations of lawyers and attorney groups, displaying a brand of honesty and moral character that few other attorneys can claim. He was later brought to life by actor Gregory Peck in the film version of the novel, and his portrayal as Atticus Finch (in which Peck won the Oscar for Best Actor) is considered one of the finest performances in all movie history. Atticus is as near perfect as any man drawn by any writer: a character who is believable and admired because of his simple honesty and care for all human beings.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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