To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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At a Glance

  • Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, the narrator. She lives in Maycomb, Alabama, with her brother Jem and father Atticus.
  • James "Jem" Finch, Scout’s older brother, who learns an important lesson about courage from Mrs. Dubose.
  • Atticus Finch, a respected attorney who defends Tom Robinson and incurs the wrath of the community.
  • Calpurnia, the black housekeeper of the Finch home.
  • Boo Radley, Scout's reclusive neighbor, who saves her life at the end of the novel.
  • Tom Robinson, the innocent black man accused of raping Mayella Ewell.
  • Mayella Ewell, the white woman who falsely accuses Tom of rape.
  • Bob Ewell, Mayella's abusive father. He dies during his attempt to kill Scout and Jem at the end of the novel.
  • Mrs. Dubose, a mean-spirited morphine addict who kicks her addiction.

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Jean Louise “Scout” Finch

Scout Finch is the protagonist and narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird, and the events of the story unfold through her recollections of growing up in the small town of Maycomb. (Read our extended character analysis of Scout Finch.)

Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch

Scout’s older brother, Jem Finch, is only nine years old when the novel opens. In temperament, he is more mature and thoughtful than his impulsive younger sister. (Read our extended character analysis of Jem Finch.)

Atticus Finch

The widowed father of Scout and Jem, Atticus Finch forms the moral center of the novel. As a respected lawyer, Atticus uses his exalted position in the community to fight against injustice. (Read our extended character analysis of Atticus Finch.)

Arthur “Boo” Radley

Reclusive and mysterious, Boo Radley is an important figure in the children’s lives. He has remained shut in his house while rumors about him have swirled around town for years. (Read our extended character analysis of Boo Radley.)


Calpurnia is the Finch family’s black housekeeper. A formidable female presence in the children’s lives, Calpurnia has helped to raise them since their mother’s untimely death. Though Scout often resents how strict Calpurnia is, the children clearly love her and see her as a maternal figure. Calpurnia serves as a bridge between the children and the black community in Maycomb, helping them see the effects of the Tom Robinson trial from a different perspective. Though Calpurnia makes an effort to bring the children into her world, she also helps them realize the differences between their own white world and the oppressed black community of Maycomb. Scout’s perspective is broadened when she hears Calpurnia speaking differently among members of her church, forcing Scout to acknowledge that Calpurnia has an entire life beyond the Finch family.

John Hale “Jack” Finch

Jack Finch is Atticus’s younger brother and is known to Scout and Jem as “Uncle Jack.” Atticus’s children love Jack, though he does not understand children quite as well as Atticus. Scout accuses Uncle Jack of being unfair when he punishes her for attacking Francis without hearing her out first. After talking with Atticus and Scout, however, Jack realizes that he should have listened to Scout and apologizes.

Aunt Alexandra

Aunt Alexandra is Atticus’s sister who comes to stay during the trial. She is the epitome of the “Southern Belle” and firmly adheres to traditional social hierarchies regarding class and race. She strongly opposes Atticus’s involvement in Tom Robinson’s trial and criticizes his parenting of Scout, who she feels is not being taught to act like a proper lady. Scout, meanwhile, finds Alexandra to be an overbearing and unpleasant addition to their household. Though Alexandra—like other citizens of Maycomb—is blinded by prejudice, she truly cares about her brother Atticus. When Alexandra is upset by the hypocrisy of her missionary circle and the death of Tom Robinson, she is determined not to let it show. Her strength leads Scout to the realization that being a “lady” takes courage and perseverance.

Charles Baker “Dill” Harris

Dill Harris is Scout and Jem’s...

(The entire section is 7,048 words.)