Though Atticus Finch is the main hero in To Kill a Mockingbird, he’s not the only one. From Boo Radley to Sheriff Tate and from Link Deas to Calpurnia, there is no shortage of heroism.
One of the more unsung heroes is Deas, Tom Robinson’s former boss who displays courage that is, in some ways, more heroic than physical feats of strength. He puts his reputation on the line when he overcomes his own personal racism and defends Tom during his trial, saying that in the eight years Tom has worked for him, “I ain’t had a speck o’ trouble outa him. Not a speck.” Much the same way it takes more courage to stand up to your friends as opposed to your enemies, defending Tom in a public courtroom is more impressive than simply making a statement to the sheriff or a lawyer.
But the most famous hero besides Atticus is Arthur “Boo” Radley. By saving Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell, Boo plays the traditional hero—and also does so humbly, a pure version of heroism, like people who donate to charity but choose to do it anonymously. When Boo walks Scout home near the end of the book, Scout recognizes all he had done for them.
Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into that tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.
It is doubtful Arthur Radley minded one bit. He was just doing what all of us would have done: saving the lives of two innocent children. That doesn’t make it any less heroic, however.