2.1. Harper Lee’s Biography
Nelle Harper Lee an American writer was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama, U.S. She was the youngest child of four siblings to Frances Cunningham Finch Lee and Amasa Coleman Lee. Her mother Frances was a homemaker while her father A. C. Lee was former newspaper editor who later practiced law and was a member of Alabama state legislator from 1926 to 1938. Harper Lee was a tomboy during her childhood who enjoyed reading and the friendship of her neighbor Truman Capote who became a writer too. She attended Monroe County High School where she shows high interest in English literature. In 1944, she graduated from high school and attended all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery only a year. The next year, she moved to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where she studied law for four years but did not get a degree. While studying in Alabama University, she was an editor of the campus humor magazine Ramma-Jamma and wrote for student publications. In 1948, her father financed her trip her to England to attend a summer school exchange at Oxford University to make her more interested in Law studies but all his efforts were in vain because she did not earn a degree. Two years later, she moved to New York to work as an airline reservationist with Eastern Air Lines and British Overseas Air Corp (BOAC).
In 1956, she received a gift of one year’s wage from her friends Michael Brown and Joy Williams Brown on the occasion of Christmas to devote herself to write full-time what allowed her to produce what was eventually To Kill a Mockingbird. They also helped her to find an agent called Maurice Crain who in his turn succeeded in founding her a publishing company interested in her work. In the summer of 1959, she completed the novel in cooperation with the editor Tay Hohoff and released it on July 11, 1960. The novel was a bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961 after the great critical acclaim it got. She wrote short essays including Romance and High Adventure that was published in 1983 and devoted to Alabama history. In a poll conducted by the Libra Journal in 1999, the novel was voted as Best Novel of the Century. President George W. Bush offered Harper Lee the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her outstanding contribution to America’s literary tradition in November 2007. At the same year, she suffered from various health problems such as loss of hearing, limited vision, and short-term memory loss. She moved to an assisted living facility in Monroeville where She died a year later on February 19, 2016, in Monroeville, Alabama while she was asleep. In 2015, she published her novel Go Set a Watchman that she wrote before To Kill a Mockingbird that portrays Scout Finch as an adult woman who returns to Alabama to visit her father Atticus Finch.
2.2. The Historical Context of To Kill a Mockingbird
The setting of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird took place in the 1930’s in Alabama. The story is set during the great depression which was the most likely event that had an impact on the events of the story. Harper chose a time when black people were subjected to racism and severe discrimination though she wrote it in 1960 when the Civil Rights Movement rose what inspires her to deal with racism against blacks as a main theme in her novel. Her novel that sheds light on black people life in America from the perspective of a young tomboy girl called “Scout” that represents Harper Lee when she was a child. Harper’s novel is semi-autobiographical as some characters of the novel are inspired by her own environment such as Atticus Finch who portrayed her father A. C. Lee and Dill portrayed her childhood friend Truman Capote. Moreover, Maycomb County represents Harper Lee’s hometown Monroeville which was a rural town in Alabama untouched by industrialization. The events of the story are based on the novelist personal experiences such as her relationship with her father, and her father’s experience as a lawyer. She was highly affected by the cases where black men were falsely accused and severely punished without a clear evidence as it was Scottsboro trials that inspired Harper Lee to write this novel.
In 1931, Nine African American teenagers aged between 13 to 20 years old were accused of raping two white American women and were presented to the American court where they were proved guilty and sentenced unfairly. These trials reflected the unjust legal system of America as Tom Robinson’s trial reflected Alabama’s biased legal system. The Scottsboro trials were similar to To Kill a Mockingbird case when lawyer Atticus Finch proved Tom Robinson’s innocence but the white jury denied the evidence and claimed him guilty. Furthermore, a lynch mob tried to take revenge from the Scottsboro boys but the Sheriff of Alabama called the National Guard to keep the boys safe and moved them to a new jail as it was the case in To Kill a Mockingbird when a lynch mob tried to kill Tom when he was being held in jail but Atticus Finch was there to defend him. Harper Lee showed these similarities on purpose to provide the reader with an obvious insight about a real example of the unjust Southern beliefs and mistreatment that the blacks were subjected to during that time. This injustice and corruption affected all aspects of life including the highest power in the country that was the law. By the time Harper Lee wrote her novel, the African Americans were still regarded as second-class citizens and were seen as a danger to white people that must be controlled by Jim Crow Laws. According to these laws, African Americans were subjected to discrimination and denied their civil rights.
2.1. Tom Robinson as a Depiction of African Americans Life in the South
Tom Robinson is an African American character in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960). Tom is a young Black man who is twenty-five years old, married to Helen Robinson and father of three children. He Lived in the Negro cabins with his family and worked as a field worker in Mr. Link Deas plantation. Though he is a main character but Tom did not appear in the novel personally until the fifteenth chapter. Before his appearance, we would learn about him from what other people of Maycomb say. Tom represents himself at the court as a kind, harmless and hardworking person who likes to help people whenever they needed him although he so busy as a fieldworker and father but he did never hesitate to the white girl Mayella Ewell who accused him of raping her. He is probably the only person in Maycomb to be kind to her enough to do some work and fix things for her without a return. Tom stated in his testimony:
Tom Robinson’s forehead relaxed. “She’d call me in, suh. Seemed like every time.
I passed by yonder she’d have some little somethin’ for me to do—choppin’ kindlin’, totin’ water for her. She watered them red flowers every day—” “Were you paid for your services?” “No suh, not after she offered me a nickel the first time. I was glad to do it, Mr. Ewell didn’t seem to help her none, and neither did the chillun, and I knowed she didn’t have no nickels to spare.”
“Where were the other children?”
“They was always around, all over the place. They’d watch me work, some of ’em, some of ’em’d set in the window.” (193-194).
Tom Robinson mentioned clearly that Mayella would ask him to help her do some household chores that needed physical strength almost every day when passed by her house. He did all the work recommended and never got paid for anything as far as he noticed that she seemed the only person who took care of the house in addition to the fact that he knows well that she has not enough money to pay him.
Mr. Tate and a group of other men came to Atticus’s house to tell him that Tom should be moved to Maycomb jail. Mr. Tate was afraid of what would the Ku Klux Klan do. Mr. Tate asked Atticus to guard Tom Robinson the night before his trial to avoid any problem. Sunday night, Atticus went to the Maycomb jail where Tom was being held Suddenly a group of the Ku Klux Klan drive four cars into Maycomb and parked them in front of the prison. The group got out of the cars asking Atticus Finch to move away from where he was sitting next to the door of the jail. They wanted to take revenge of Tom for what he has been accused of without fearing the repercussions as far as they would not be punished since the other side is a black person fortunately that Atticus was there to protect him.
Tom remained silent and did not utter a word until the men left then he asked:
“Mr. Finch?”
A soft husky voice came from the darkness above: “They gone?”
Atticus stepped back and looked up. “They’ve gone,” he said. “Get some sleep, Tom. They won’t bother you any more.” (156)
This answer brought some relief to Tom in his jail. The fight was unbalanced between a group of armed men against an armless, invisible man which so scaring and terrifying.
The novelist tended to let Tom remain in the shadows because the narrator Scout did not see him until the day of the trial. Another reason is that the writer wanted to permit the reader to shape an overview about him according to what Maycomb people say by being at the same position with the white people. Therefore, when he appeared later, the reader would be able to give an objective judgment on both sides of the conflict without favoring one side over the other.
Tom who was caught in a suspicious situation with Mayella Ewell by her father Bob on the evening of the incident explains at the court that it was not his fault. He stated that Mayella asked him as usual to repair something for her but this time she invited him to the empty home. Once he was trying to lift a box down from the dresser for she surprised him from the back hugging him and asking him to kiss her. Tom Robinson asked her gently to let him go saying: “Miss Mayella lemme outa here an’ tried to run but she got her back to the door an’ I’da had to push her. I didn’t wanta harm her, Mr. Finch” (197-198). Though what she did, Tom did not want to harm her first because he was a kind gentleman and second because according to Jim Crow Laws it was a serious crime if a black man assaulted physically a white woman. At that moment her father appeared and started treating her with vulgar words and threatening to kill her. Tom run away quickly from the Ewell’s property because he was so scared: “Mr. Finch, if you was a nigger like me, you’d be scared, too.” (199). His act opened the door widely for falsely accusation of raping her unfortunately he had no choice because he realized that no matter what he chose, he would be in trouble.
At the court, he answered Mr. Gilmer when this latter asked him about why he would help Miss Mayella Ewell for free that: “Yes, suh. I felt right sorry for her, she seemed to try more’n the rest of ’em—” “You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for he?” Mr. Gilmer seemed ready to rise to the ceiling. The witness realized his mistake and shifted uncomfortably in the chair. But the damage was done. Below us, nobody liked Tom Robinson’s answer. Mr. Gilmer paused a long time to let it sink in (200). Tom expresses with a good intention his compassion and pity for Miss Mayella who seemed to be lonely though she is in the company of a father and seven siblings. Mr. Gilmer as any other man in the room was so angry about the idea that a black man would feel sorry for a white woman. It was shocking to them and an unbelievable idea that an inferior creator could have emotions of pity and sorrow for a white woman. This declaration put Tom in a hard situation about which of the two stories would The jury believe. the story that Miss Ewell and her father told about a rape case or the story that Tom told about he has been subjected to an assault. Though his honesty has been proven when Mr. Link Deas intervened the court session and testified that Tom is a good man and he has never been in a trouble with him in eight years of work, the jury would not take Tom’s side for one reason which is that he allowed himself to have the audacity to feel sorry for a white woman. The jury announced Tom as guilty ignoring Tom’s version of the story especially with the approval of Tom’s physical handicap that ensures his innocence. Tom as an African American who lives during the 1930’s America had no rights in the white society so he was declared guilty for a crime he did not commit just because his skin color was different from theirs. Tom Robinson is not an American individual but he represents the people of his race in his personal conflict with the white society. The jury stood by Mayella Ewell’s side though they knew that the truth is told by Tom but as usual in the South the white would side the whites and the black would side the blacks. Tom found himself by his own since the black people could not support him because of the racial segregation and discrimination they were subjected to. As a relief, he decided to run away from the prison on the daylight in the presence of the white guards who would kill him without mercy by shooting him seventeen shots. Tom realized that he lost the battle against the white society from the beginning but he fought for his right in a different way as Atticus stated later : “I guess Tom was tired of white men’s chance and preferred to take his own” (239).
2.2. Atticus Finch’s Legacy
Atticus Finch is a white American character in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. He is a single father of two children Jean Louise Finch (Scout) and Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem). He worked as a full-time lawyer and state legislator. Because of his work’s nature, he is all the time out of the house so he hired a black maid called Calpurnia to look after his children. The narrator of the story “Scout” gave a sharp description to him, she said that Atticus is the old father among the fathers of her friends. His hair is black that turning into gray and his skin is getting wrinkled. In addition, he wears glasses because he could barely see out of his left eye. Sometimes he should turn his head to see clearly things with his right eye. Atticus is known for his addiction to reading.
Atticus Finch is the hero and protagonist of the novel who represents morality and reason through all the chapters. As an intelligent and warm-hearted lawyer who fought for racial justice and equality, he defended a black man against a racist white jury that took an unfair verdict against him only because most of the whites thought that blacks were less than them. He was one of the few adult white people in Maycomb who was the least infected by prejudice and had feelings of compassion and pity for black people. Mr. Finch insisted on doing what he felt was right so he did not pay much attention to what others would say about him defending an African American. He was not affected by the Maycomb ladies gossip and their sharp tongues or Maycomb men threatening his life simply because he had a strong will that he was on the right path since he could never satisfy all the sides. He once told his daughter Scout: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-” (30). He applied this vision to all the bad events that may face him because of the case he was working on. For instance, he did not react when Bob Ewell spat in his face because he thought Bob would no more show up since he took his revenge. This passive reaction was due to the fact that Atticus understood Bob’s situation as a man whose reputation got ruined by a white man like him for the sake of a black man. Atticus considers things from other people’s perspective that is why he remained peaceful and calm all the time.
Atticus shows tolerable attitude throughout different occasions in the novel. He always kept himself calm no matter what happens. despite Mrs. Dubose’s insults and unkind comments about him defending a black man, he was kind to her. He even went further when he asked his children to apologize to her and to go to her house each evening to read to her. He put Jem and Scout in a difficult situation on purpose to teach them to respect older people. Despite their absolute refusal, he sent them because he wanted them to help her focus on something else rather than her pain. That was a moral lesson to Jem who judged her without learning that she was addicted to Morphine what makes her say anything that comes to her mind without control. Also, he wanted Jem and Scout to be able to walk keeping their heads up since they were sure that they were doing what is right in spite of what others would say. That was the case when he accepted to take Tom Robinson’s defense at the court ignoring what others think of him. Even though Judge Taylor was the one who appointed him to defend Tom, Atticus aimed to do his best to defend him from what did not please Maycomb white society. Maycomb’s opposition and hatred towards Atticus were not because of his mission itself but his choice to prove Tom is innocent which was ridiculously unacceptable in the southern society. Despite the fact that he was appointed to the case, many of the white people believed he was planning on doing his utmost to get Tom out of the jail. “Lemme tell you somethin’ now, Billy,” a third said, “you know the court appointed him to defend this nigger.” “Yeah, but Atticus aims to defend him. That’s what I don’t like about it” (165). Atticus realized that Maycomb people were totally against him trying to do his work as it should be done, Atticus said: “there’s been some high talk around town to the effect that I shouldn’t do much about defending this man.” ( chapter 9). Atticus opposed the southern notion of fair trials are only meant for white people. That took him much of courage and bravery to stand up for what he believed was right no matter what was the outcome because in 1930’s America it was really hard to stand up for the black race even for a white lawyer.
Atticus has a stern personality but fair attitude at the same time. He is the same person whether at home or at the court. This is one of the qualities that his neighbor Miss Maudie likes so much about him “Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets”. (47). Atticus has basic values and beliefs that he follows whether he is in privacy with his family and relatives or outside with strangers. He is a person who has nothing to hide because he lives by his own principles that he does not go against to fit in society. His firmness is what made Maycomb people rely on him and Judge Taylor appoint him to defend Tom Robinson as they were sure that Atticus treats everyone the same regardless physical differences. Atticus is a man of values and morality who chose to be egalitarian in dealing with everybody. Contrary to Maycomb’s people, he stood firmly against racial segregation.
This moral integrity is what he wanted to teach his young children instead of injustice and inequality that were surrounding them. He asked his daughter not to use any words that address other people skin color difference in response to her question if he was defending a black man.
“Do you defend niggers, Atticus?” I asked him that evening.
“Of course I do. “Don’t say nigger, Scout. That’s common.”
“‘s what everybody at school says.”
“From now on it’ll be everybody less one—” (77)
At her young age, Scout is acquiring from the society where she lives her vocabulary. Scout was not that sing a racist language is a bad thing since it was common and used often in front of her. Fortunately her father was an educated man who taught her that using a common language reflects one’s cultural and moral degradation. Moreover, he attempted to teach her to behave properly and in a respectful way with everyone regardless of ethnic differences.
It seems for the reader that Atticus’s parenting style is unique and different. He treats his children as his equals to teach them the importance of equality. They called him by his name as a sign of respect. He aimed to instill moral values and principles in them from their early age but at the same time he was aware that they were still young so he gave them some free space to express themselves under his supervision. He tried to answer all their questions with honesty. Despite this special treatment he is still taking into consideration that they are still children who will always make mistakes unintentionally but he just wanted to make sure that they learn from their mistakes. Furthermore, he encouraged them to discuss and share with him all what comes to their mind so he could easily guide them to the right path. He always defends his way of raising his children against those who tell him to raise them according to the traditional way , because he sees it as the best way to prepare them for the future since they are the future of America. He wanted his children to be able to take right decisions on their own when they get older. He tried to teach them to keep themselves away from Maycomb’s standards that were based on racism and prejudice. Atticus states to them clearly that it is an unforgivable sin to take advantage of those less fortunate than others. for Atticus the real miserable ones are those who mistreat and harm innocent people. He transmits this message by using the example of his total refusal to hunt a mockingbird because all what he does is entertain others and spread joy. Atticus pointed out : “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (92). The mockingbird is a symbol to address Tom Robinson who was targeted only because he was different. Targeting others on the basis of who they are is a sin. Atticus stood up for racial justice and equality since he believed that all human beings are equal away from their skin color, race or origins. he was convinced that bad behaviors are not exclusively black but they are a human-made regardless of one’s social affiliation. Atticus said: “You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women – black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men” (208). Atticus is obviously against the southern concept that all what is black is bad. He argues that it is a silly argument to justify the accusation because Tom above all is a human being.
Atticus defends Tom Robinson although Maycomb people were against him because Tom is a black man, however, he did not care about what others say and think, he just followed his moral sense. He told Scout who was confused why would her father accept to defend Tom Robinson while all other people think he should not.
“Atticus, you must be wrong….”
“How’s that?”
“Well, most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong….” (108)
Atticus replied her that it is more important to measure things on your own then decide what to do. It is a human nature to consider yourself right and others wrong but one must look at things from people’s point of view to take an objective decision. This way just helped him to deal patiently with the most difficult case he ever worked on and it even permits him to understand the complex personality of the society’s individuals. He told Jem and Scout that they should put themselves in other’s skin instead of being judgmental. This is what he did when Judge Taylor appointed him as Tom’s lawyer. This case had a personal impact on Atticus what created to him some kind of internal conflict. He was confused about whether to defend the innocent black man following his conscience or to follow his racist society. At last, he made up his decision to do all he could to get Tom a fair trial. He explained to Scout why he was willing to defend Tom Robinson when all Maycomb was against his decision because he already accepted to take the case and he can not retreat now or he would no more be able to tell his children what to do. He stated that: “before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience” (108). Atticus believed that it is a moral obligation to defend any innocent man regardless his skin color and he would not be able to live with himself if he did not do his best to defend Tom. As an individual in a prejudiced community, he knows that standing by the oppressed side is the right thing to do despite what others think. One cannot live with himself in peace unless he follows his own morals instead of bowing to the pressure that others put on him.
Atticus Finch is a straight person and the alive conscience of Maycomb county. Maybe that is the reason why Maycomb people chose him to represent them at the state legislature and why Judge Taylor chose him to defend Tom Robinson. Simply because they were aware that he can make right decisions no matter how hard was the situation. Despite they trusted him, Maycomb people were so upset when he accepted to defend the black Tom at the white court. Probably that was the most prominent decision Atticus has ever made. Miss Maudie told Jem once that his father has been chosen to do this mission because only men like Atticus can do things other people can not do: “We’re so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we’ve got men like Atticus to go for us” (219). Atticus is the only lawyer who can defend a black man and prove him innocent as long as he is the most qualified lawyer to do such an unpleasant job. The evidence of Atticus’s success was the long duration of the trial which means that he could have at least kept them to listen to him and almost convinced them. Knowing that he will not win did not stop from trying to at least enlight the truth even though it would not be accepted by the majority. “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win”. Although it was clear that they were not going to win the trial, Atticus did his best in order to show that one must firmly stand for what he believes in no matter what are the obstacles. Atticus did not mind their opinions and rumors around him because he sees his profession as a personal commitment to apply justice since he was known so far as an honest lawyer. Though he failed in getting Tom the fair trial he deserved, at least he could have shown all Maycomb that Tom is innocent and there was no evidence against him but his skin color.
Atticus Finch is the voice of conscience of Maycomb society who publically stood up against the immoral southern standards. He did his best to reveal the truth. Atticus was committed to strict moral values, he appreciated people’s dignity and education that’s why he always tried to teach his children life lessons which are more important because he believed that education is the only way out of darkness and absurdity. In brief, Atticus is the conscience of both Maycomb and the novel.
2.5. Jem and Scout as a Reflection to heir Father’s Legacy
Jem and Scout are Atticus Finch’s children. Scout is the protagonist of the novel and the narrator of its events that are unfolded through her memories of growing up in a small county in Alabama. Contrary to her old brother who is more mature and thoughtful, Scout is impulsive and short-tempered that is why he often plays the role of a bridge between her and the world of adults. Harper Lee depicted Scout as a tomboy, stubborn girl whose unusual curiosity made of her an astute observer what led her to discover the hypocrisy and cruelty of Maycomb adult world. At the beginning of the novel, the five-year-old Scout was an innocent and warm-hearted child who still did not experience the evils of the adult world, unlike her Jem who was four years older than her and was more aware of these evils. As the novel progresses, Jem shows a more grown-up personality and started to retreat from the games that he used to enjoy with Scout what made her angry about him and that was her first interaction with how can age affect one’s behaviors and mentality. Jem’s opening up to adulthood represents Maycomb society awakening to realize their inequality.
Jem and Scout were highly affected by their father’s attitude because they considered him as their idol especially Scout who tried all the time to catch his attention. Atticus attempted to let them find their own way in life through experiencing things under his supervision to guide them whenever it was necessary. Scout learned from her father not to judge people regardless their race, class, appearance or affiliation. Atticus told her once:
“First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-”
“-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”(30). He asked his daughter to consider things from the other’s perspective and never be judgmental because he wanted his children to be aware of their actions and not to follow the society randomly.
Atticus Finch’s way of leading his children to the right path was through initiating them to the harshness of life so that they would be able to differentiate between what the right and the wrong by themselves. At the same time, Atticus insisted on teaching them the importance of tolerance and respecting others even if they disagree with them. He asked Jem and Scout, for instance, to apologize to their old neighbor Mrs. Dubose and read for her every evening for a month despite her insults. Though Mrs. Dubose insult Atticus, he wanted to help her ignore her pain for a given period till she passed away. Jem and Scout who were scared of passing by Mrs.Dubose’s house to get to the town so they were obliged to take a longer road to avoid her because even if they do nothing to her she still would hurl on them. Jem who destroyed her flower garden when she attacked verbally Atticus Finch for defending a black man and accused him of letting his daughter grow up as a boy, Mrs. Dubose said: “what are you doing in those overalls? You should be in a dress and camisole, young lady! You’ll grow up waiting on tables if somebody doesn’t change your ways—a Finch waiting on tables at the O.K. Café—hah!” and continues “Not only a Finch waiting on tables but one in the courthouse lawing for niggers!” (104). Both of Atticus children were so angry but Jem shows some kind of maturity when he asked his sister: “Come on, Scout,” he whispered. “Don’t pay any attention to her, just hold your head high and be a gentleman” (104). Jem’s reaction reflects his father’s attitude and education.
?Jem and Scout were highly affected by their father’s decision to defend the ?black man Tom Robinson. This decision drive Maycomb people either young or adult to mock at them. Scout was the first to be ridiculed at as a consequence to her father’s choice when her schoolmate Cecil Jacobs declared at the schoolyard that her father was defending a black man saying: ” Scout Finch’s daddy defended niggers” (76). Though Scout did not know what the word nigger means, it sounds to her that it has a bad meaning what made her feel insulted and be ready to break the promise she made to her father not to fight anymore. The townspeople’s ridiculous remark made her feel so confused as she thought her father surely must be wrong since the whole town thinks Atticus is wrong. but he explains to her that despite the ridicule he must remain strong because an honest lawyer he should do his best to defend any man regardless his background when a concrete evidence exists to prove his innocence. Here, Scout learned to stand up for? what she believes in no matter what others? would think or say since she is convinced that it is the right thing to do. ?Here, Scout learned to stand up by what she believes in no matter what others? would think or say since she is convinced that it is the right thing to do, ???just as he does the right thing in defending a black man despite the disagreement of the whole town when he lives. Atticus even went further when he proves Tom’s innocence of the fabricated assault what drove Mr. Ewell crazy. Mr.Ewell spat on Atticus’s face but the later did not do anything in return because he did not want to confront physically an ignorant man. Atticus simply wanted his children to learn that fight is not always the solution as it could only aggravate the situation. As a role model father, Atticus had a great impact on shaping the personalities of his children to be better people.
?Thanks to Atticus that Scout revealed the hypocritical nature of Maycomb society when he told her that it is wrong to hate anyone. Scout, for instance,? was perplexed when her teacher Miss Gates comments on Cecil Jacobs current event that talks about Adolf Hitler’s persecution. Miss Gates expresses her anger towards the Nazi leader who mistreated the jews for no reason but religious difference whereas she was personally a prejudiced person who hates black for no reason but race difference. Scout, who heard Miss Gates telling Miss Stephanie Crawford: “it’s time somebody taught ’em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us” (250-251), did not understand how can her teacher moves quickly from hating the prosecute Hitler to a prejudiced person who prosecuted people in her own country. Scout who was exposed to a confusing opinion about racial oppression asked her father who she sees the world through his eyes about what is the point of hating someone we do share the same attitude with. Miss Gates explained that America is a democratic country because no white man would be persecuted in America whereas it was fine if a black man has been subjected to racial inequality and oppressed. ?? Scout realized the hypocrisy of American people who felt sorry for the German Jews who were oppressed while black people were still being exposed to the same thing. Scout, who learned the notion to measure things on her own ?from her father, realized by herself the contradiction of Maycomb people who opposed discrimination when it comes to the white race and supported it when it comes to the black race.? ? Atticus guides Jem and Scout throughout the novel to make sure that they will acquire ethical values. As a result, his children rejected the unjust prejudice and cruelty, for instance, at the end of the novel Scout finally understood that her father was right when he told her: “…you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them” (283). On the other hand, Jem was deeply affected by the trial’s verdict that announced Tom Robinson was guilty despite the approval of his innocence and he could not accept its injustice. At the end of To Kill a Mockingbird, both Jem and Scout were a reflection to their father’s attitude.