In the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus Finch is one of the virtuous citizens in Maycomb, he is relatively well off in a time of widespread poverty. Atticus is respected by everyone, including the very poor. With his strongly held convictions, wisdom, and empathy, Atticus functions as the novel’s moral backbone, a person to whom others turn in times of doubt and trouble.
Nevertheless the conscience that makes him so commendable ultimately causes his falling out with the people of Maycomb. Atticus is unable to conform to the town’s comfortable ingrained racial prejudice as we follow his fight for justice.Atticus practices the ethic of sympathy and understanding that he preaches to Scout and Jem. Atticus works as a lawyer believing in equal justice for all, regardless of race or religion. He is determined to admire the good of people while understanding and forgiving the bad. However, not all in the town of Maycomb share Atticus’ view of prejudice. A discussion of three contrasting characters (Aunt Alexandra, Bob Ewell and Calpurnia) will give residence to his view. Albeit being the sister of Atticus, Aunt Alexandra is a remnant of the old South.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
She holds firm beliefs about being a Southerner who are considered subtle racists. Her judgements of prejudice differ from those of Atticus’. We encounter this when her own grandson, Francis, discloses that “Grandma says ..
. now he’s turned out a nigger-lover we’ll never be able to walk the streets of Maycomb. He’s ruinin’ the family.” (p.92). Here we can see her views of Atticus being passed down to her children. Harper Lee uses Aunt Alexandra to expose what is wrong with the Southern refinement.
She believes that by dressing well, using manners, and being social, she is a true lady. However Aunt Alexandra cannot stand up for what is just as she cannot go against old notions. Nevertheless, Aunt Alexandra in spite of everything still cares about Atticus when she states while speaking with Miss Maudie “I can’t say I approve of everything he does, Maudie, but he’s my brother.”(p.260). This is a critical stage of the novel.
Aunt Alexandra is very much torn between the love for her brother and thoughtless acceptance of traditional southern conforms. There were others in Maycomb who agreed with her ideology. In contrast to Atticus Finch, Bob Ewell is a drunk and a child abuser who is abhorrent throughout Maycomb. We see how he runs a dysfunctional family by himself, supporting them only on welfare.
He is fundamentally the archetypical bigotry of the South. He believes in different modes of justice for blacks and whites. He suggests that the blacks are “dangerous to live around ‘sides devaluin’ my property-” (p.193). This comment simply swells his pejorative and racist nature which labels Bob Ewell as Atticus’ direct opposite. It was selfish of Bob to lie to the town Maycomb about Tom Robinson raping his daughter.
Even though, Bob had raped her. Atticus, being the man who he is, tries to explain to Scout that he does have a chance in winning the case "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we.