Would you like to have Atticus as a father? Why?

Expert Answers
amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus would be (is, in the novel) a wonderful father. Unlike most adults, he does not talk down to children. He does not talk down to anyone. He gives everyone respect. We learn this lesson early in the novel when Walter Cunningham Jr. comes to the house for dinner. Given the culture of Maycomb, one of the underlying ideas about class is that the poorer families are not as good as the families who have traditionally had money. Walter's family is poor. But even though Walter is poor, and a small child, Atticus talks to him as an equal: "While Walter piled food on his plate, he and Atticus talked together like two men, to the wonderment of Jem and me." 

Atticus does this with most anyone he comes into contact with. He is consistent. In Chapter 5, Miss Maudie mentions this as well: "Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets." He is honest and open-minded; it's not just for show. He is this way all of the time. His children see this consistent honesty and emulate it. He teaches them, not just with his words, but with his example and how he lives his life.

He never shows off (which is why he never brags about his shooting abilities); he simply does what needs to be done. In Chapter 10, Scout notes that she and Jem are disappointed that Atticus is so old—older than most of the other children's fathers. Their disappointment changes when Atticus must use his shooting skills to kill the rabid dog. He doesn't flaunt this ability; he simply does what has to be done in order to keep everyone safe. He is a peaceful protector, a great quality for a parent. It is also in this chapter that Scout recalls Atticus telling her that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. This becomes one of the major lessons of the novel: that is, one should not injure a mockingbird because, as Miss Maudie says, "They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” According to Atticus, it is a sin to hurt anyone who is innocent, who doesn't hurt or bother anyone else, and certainly not anyone who only tries to help others. The two main mockingbirds in the novel are Tom Robinson and Arthur "Boo" Radley. They don't bother anyone and only try to help others. Atticus is a near perfect father-figure because he is always saying and doing the right (ethical) thing. This is the best example for children to follow and learn from. 

zoeykay101 | Student

YES! Because he does everything in his power to raise his kids right, he's loving, kind, and honest. He is a great role model and always has a responsible answer to every question.

thewanderlust878 | Student

I would definitely love to have Atticus as a father in real life. He is a loving individual who always puts others needs before his own. He is also exceptionally intelligent, and he knows how to use his intelligence, but he is not vain and does not tell people that he is better than them. He also believes that everyone deserves a fair shot at life regardless of what their skin color or gender is. He is fair and honest, and definitely a hard worker. In all honesty, I think I would rather marry a man like that! 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question