To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - The Importance of Atticus Finch
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The Importance of Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird
The core character of a novel is responsible for maintaining the stability of society within the novel, exhibiting qualities of a true hero, and constantly emphasizing the novel’s central themes. In the classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus Finch serves as the core of the novel by displaying a character of stability, humility, and high moral standards.
Atticus Finch is a character of stability in an unstable society. He is a balanced figure who is able to cope with the unreasonable and highly emotional town in which he lives. He can manage the prejudiced white masses and still deal justly with the underprivileged Negro population of Maycomb. He is one of the few people who understand the individual worth of a person regardless of the color of his/her skin. This enables him to defend Tom Robinson based solely on the concept of justice and equality. In his closing argument, Atticus explains that, “there is one place all men are created equal. That place is in a court room” (Lee 205). This justifies the fact that Atticus believes in equality in a society, the equality not only of race, but also of sex, class, and religion as well. His view of equality and justice is a symbol of his own psychological stability throughout the novel. Accordingly, in the final analysis of the story, Atticus represents the “justice” in the community of Maycomb. His stability throughout the book is one of the many characteristics that depict Atticus Finch as the novel’s core.
In a town of such undeserved glory, Atticus Finch is the one character who is worthy of glorification. Yet, his humility further illustrates Atticus as a man of pure stability. Surrounded by the self-righteousness of others, he is able to remain emotionally grounded. Atticus Finch is a highly accomplished man of great intelligence, but even greater meekness. For example, during one of their chats with Miss Maudie, Scout learns that her father’s childhood nickname was “Ol Shot” (Lee page #), which referred to his unbelievable marksmanship. When Scout becomes excited about telling all of her friends about her father and his incredible talent, Jem says, “I'd reckon if he wanted us to know he’d a told us. If he was proud of it he’d a told us… but Atticus is a gentleman…and people in their right minds never take pride in their talents” (Lee 98).
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:: 2 Works Cited
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Atticus Finch Harper Lee Mockingbird Central Themes One Place Created Equal Tom Robinson
This portrays Atticus as a man who is dignified in the humblest of senses, and it emphasizes his underlying integrity.
Atticus is also the spokesman of moral philosophy in the novel. In the face of rampant prejudice in his town, he has the courage to teach his children that they must, “learn to be compassionate and understanding of the problems and conditions of life faced by other people” (Lee 137). He chooses to lead his life, and govern the lives of his children on the basis of his own values. In a world of prejudice and inequality, Atticus heroically and steadfastly clings to the belief that an individual should be judged based upon the person within. He instills this value in his children, as well as the valuable capability to change perspectives to better understand life from another’s point of view. “You never really understand a person until you consider life from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee 34). This is an excellent example of the basis upon which Atticus Finch structures his beliefs; and he holds true to these moral standards. Throughout the entire novel, Lee has Atticus continually dealing with the theme of prejudice, either through his words to his children or through his actions in the courtroom. Always, Atticus appears to be trying to make the world a better place beginning with his own family.
Atticus Finch is a character of stability, humility, and high moral standard. Through his pure attributes, he serves as the center of neutrality in the novel, and the basis of the themes that are emphasized throughout the novel. It is the element of a strong character, such as Atticus Finch, that has brought the book, To Kill A Mockingbird to be considered a timeless classic.
Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird.
Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements / paper topics on “To Kill a Mockingbird” that can be used as essay starters. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements for “To Kill a Mockingbird” offer a short summary of different elements that could be important in an essay but you are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.>*Note: Additional Quotes from this and other books can be found easily in books online *
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: Notions of Justice and Fairness in “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
Despite the unwavering dedication of Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird”, the absence of evidence, and a moving courtroom speech, Tom Robinson is convicted of a crime that he did not commit. This jury ruling causes both those who advocated Robinson’s conviction and those who were convinced of his innocence to question their notions of justice and fairness. As if a false conviction was not enough, Tom is eventually killed, and the sense of justice and fairness seem to be completely violated. Write an argumentative essay on “To Kill a Mockingbird” in which you establish what Lee is trying to convey regarding these two concepts that are so important to civil society. Questions that you might want to consider include: If justice and fairness are so elusive, how can Atticus and Scout continue to believe in them?, and Are justice and fairness conflicting concepts in “To Kill a Mockingbird”?Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: The Various Forms of Discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird
The most obvious form of discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird is racism; however, there are other types of prejudice and discrimination that typify relationships among the novel’s characters. Scout, for example, is ridiculed in “To Kill a Mockingbird” because she is a tomboy. Boo Radley is ostracized despite the fact that hardly anyone knows him. Reverse racism is also present in the novel, as evidenced by the threats against Atticus Finch and his family as he defends Tom Robinson. Take one or more of the forms of discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird and write an analytic essay in which you explain the forms and, if applicable, compare and contrast the types of discrimination. You should argue whether the lessons about discrimination that Scout learns are applicable to all types of prejudice, or whether they apply to racism alone.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Moral Development of Scout and Jem in “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Scout and her brother Jem are both children of the morally passionate lawyer, Atticus Finch, and both are exposed to the same experiences that shape their sense of right and wrong. Yet Scout and Jem come to dramatically different conclusions about good and evil and the essential nature of humankind. Write an expository essay on “To Kill a Mockingbird” in which you develop an understanding of how Scout and Jem arrive at such disparate concepts of the world. Be sure to consider not only the final worldview at which each arrives, but to look at the novel as a whole and identify how their belief systems develop. Include relevant quotations that demonstrate how, despite their shared experiences, Scout and Jem begin to part ways, philosophically speaking, early in the novel.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4 The Role of Place in To Kill a Mockingbird
The town of Maycomb is described in great detail in “To Kill a Mockingbird”, so much so that the reader gets the sense that Maycomb is more than a setting; it takes on the weight and importance of a character. Write an expository or persuasive essay on “To Kill a Mockingbird” in which you describe Maycomb and explain its significance with respect to the events and meaning of the novel. Be sure to dig beneath the surface: it’s easy to say that Maycomb is a Southern town and that certain social dynamics—such as racism—shape the characters and their circumstances, but there are also more subtle characteristics about the town that exert influence over the novel’s outcome. Finally, consider whether Maycomb is changed by the conclusion. It shapes people and events, but it is also shaped by its inhabitants and their actions.
Thesis Statement/Essay Topic #5: Character Analysis of Atticus Finch
One of the most inspiring characters in 20th century American literature is Atticus Finch. A morally upright lawyer, a committed and loving father, and an overall good citizen, Finch is regarded highly by most citizens with a sense of justice. Write an essay in which you analyze Atticus Finch’s character. You may wish to focus the content of your essay by selecting a single quote or passage (consider a portion of the courtroom speech, for instance) and explaining how it reflects Finch’s character strengths. Address whether Finch has any flaws, and explain how he conveys his beliefs to his children and his community.
* For an outstanding essay/article analyzing the character of Atticus Finch,click here *