Kristi NguyenMs. HockensonEnglish 9 Honors, Period 611 December 2017The One Who Stood Up For EqualityMany inhabitants in the town of Maycomb, Alabama are prejudiced towards colored residents, unlike Atticus Finch who remains an honorable character with ideal ways of thinking in the time period of the 1930s. In the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee composes a character, Atticus Finch, who possesses many qualities such as being wise, understanding, and fair, in which contribute to his respectability in the community of Maycomb. He plays a significant role in establishing a conflict in the story. As a white man himself, Atticus chooses to defend a colored man, which violates the “rules” of society in this time frame, when racial tensions are dominant. Furthermore, despite the lack of approval from his community, Atticus perseveres in Tom’s case in an effort for justice to be served. His exemplary behavior is ideal, however, Atticus also possesses flaws, similar to every human. Mr. Finch addresses the conflict, creates discussion in the community, and reveals his own ideas about justice throughout “To Kill A Mockingbird”.During the course of the novel, Atticus Finch conveys his beliefs in justice through numerous actions. One of many responses to this situation includes agreeing to defend Tom Robinson of his own volition. According to the book, “The court appointed Atticus to defend him. Atticus aimed to defend him.” (218) While other citizens of Maycomb would refuse to support a person of a darker skin tone, Atticus originally had the intention of defending Tom, which caused confusion and turmoil throughout the town. Atticus anticipated that he and his family would receive criticism from neighbors, classmates, and relatives. Nevertheless he proceeds in acting as a lawyer for Tom Robinson. Another quote states, “‘For a number of reasons,’says Atticus. ‘The main one is, if I didn’t, I couldn’t hold my head up, I couldn’t represent this country in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again… Every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one’s mine, I guess.You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down.No matter what anyone says to you, don’t let ’em get your goat.'” (Lee, 100-101) Finch explains that if he didn’t defend Robinson, he would not be able to control Jem and Scout or represent his country. As a lawyer, failing to defend Tom would be hypocritical and would contradict the morals that he had taught to Jem and Scout. For example, one of Finch’s most prominent teachings is to treat every person with respect and to grasp an understanding of what others, such as Robinson, may be going through. Tom would be devastated and left without a willing lawyer to help defend him if Atticus hadn’t agreed to fulfill the position.As mentioned previously, many acquaintances of the Finch’s’ disapprove of Atticus’s decision to support Mr. Robinson. For instance, “But Mrs.Dubose held us: ‘Not only a Finch waiting on tables but one in the courtroom lawing for niggers!… Yes indeed, what has this world come to when a Finch goes against his raising? I’ll tell you!.. Your father’s no better than the niggers and trash that he works for!'” (135) Mrs.Dubose, an old lady in the Finch’s neighborhood, verbally attacks Atticus. In response, Atticus does not show anger or aggravation, but instead displays admirable grace and composure. Not to mention, Atticus presents a polite and courteous poise towards his community. “When the three of us came to her house, Atticus would sweep off his hat , wave gallantly to her and say, ‘Good evening, Mrs. Dubose! You look like a picture this evening… ‘ He would tell her the courtroom news, and would say how he hoped with all his heart she’d have a good day tomorrow. He would return his hat to his head, swing me to his shoulders in her very presence, and we would go home in the twilight. It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” (133-134) Proven here is Atticus’s kindness and respect to all people who he meet, even if he doesn’t agree with their opinions. He even expresses his fairness and unprejudiced behavior toward Mayella Ewell and Bob Ewell, both of whom do not possess the same opinions as Atticus, as confirmed when they falsely accuse Tom Robinson of committing a crime. This is only a single characteristic that individuals, including his daughter, Scout, look up to and respect.Atticus values fighting for what is right. For example, his children, Jem and Scout, get looked upon differently, in a negative way, once news disperses through town that their father is supporting Tom Robinson. Since Tom was accused of a crime that he did not commit, Atticus firmly reassures his son and daughter that defending Tom Robinson was the proper action to undertake. “‘Atticus, are we going to win it?’ ‘No honey.’ ‘Then why-‘ ‘Simply because we are licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win,’ Atticus said.”(101) Although Atticus suspected that the verdict would be guilty, he simply wanted to prove Tom’s innocence in the courtroom. By presenting valid evidence to Judge Taylor, the jury, and the audience, Atticus demonstrates that there was no possibility that Tom could have had been guilty. Even after the jury had made their decision, he still had faith in a victorious case. “‘We had such a good chance,’he said. ‘I told him what I thought, but I couldn’t in truth say that we had more than a good chance. I guess Tom was tired of white men’s chances and prefered to take his own.'” (Lee, 315) Mr. Finch had a great deal of confidence that Tom’s case would receive a second chance. His persistent and determined attitude contribute greatly in Tom’s case and his career as a lawyer. While Atticus has many characteristics that make him a respected individual, he also has flaws. He gives his children a great amount of independence. Although this may be good at times, such as at the encounter of the mob at the jailhouse, this attribute could harm Jem and Scout. Instead of accompanying the kids to the play, Atticus and Aunt Alexandra stayed home. This negatively impacted the children, and allowed Mr. Ewell a chance to hurt Jem and Scout. They could have possibly been killed that day as a result of Atticus’s lack of control over the kids. Additionally, Atticus always finds the good in people. While this can be beneficial, it can also be disadvantageous. This mistake strongly affected Atticus and both his children.”I thought he got it all out of him the day he threatened me. Even if he hadn’t, I thought he’d come after me.” (Lee, 269) Atticus did not expect Bob Ewell to gain revenge through his children. He had not anticipated Mr.Ewell’s attack on the night of the play because he believes in the kindness of others. Finch believed that Ewell’s anger had subsided and diminished but he had underestimated Bob and suffered as a result. Other than these imperfections, Atticus is a well rounded human being.Atticus Finch has greatly affected Maycomb, Alabama in the Tom Robinson case through confronting this conflict and proposing his beliefs. Mr. Finch is compassionate, believes in justice, and is dedicated to righteousness. These personality traits are proven through many scenarios throughout To Kill A Mockingbird. Justice and equality for all is still a subject being addressed today. It is important that all people should receive an equal chance to achieve their goals. Atticus has shown his support for equality during a time when his surroundings opposed this idea. Instead of acting as a bystander, Atticus stood up for his beliefs for equality and justice. His understanding and reasoning of the world earned him respect and admiration in Maycomb as an honest lawyer, loving father, and kind citizen.Works CitedLee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. Grand Central Publishing, 2010.
July 31, 2019 0 Comments