Joan of Arc states, “One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying. ” Born in France in 1412, Joan heard voices as a teenager, supposedly sent to her from God, giving her an assignment to save France from its enemies and assist Charles in becoming king. Eventually, she led multiple attacks against France’s enemies, causing them to retreat. After the victory, Charles VII became king and ordered her to defend a town, Compiegne from an attack.
Charges against her included witchcraft and dressing like a man and eventually she was sentenced to death. Both Joan of Arc and Atticus believe that integrity is one of the most important values to have in life. As Atticus teaches his children in differing ways from other adults in society, his morals influence Jem and Scout’s actions in positive ways. Contrary to the behavior of other individuals, Atticus treats his enemies with respect, the same way he treats other members of society. Contradicting the rules of conduct in his society, Atticus thinks of numerous Negro people as his acquaintances.
By treating members of society the way in which he does, Atticus contradicts societal standards, remaining true to himself. As Atticus teaches Jem and Scout in a unique way compared to other members of society, he holds true with his values and beliefs of raising children. Scout and Jem both attend school in Maycomb County. While at recess, Scout has an encounter with a boy named Cecil Jacobs who calls Atticus a nigger-lover. After Cecil Jacobs speaks poorly about Scout’s father, Scout resists the urge of fighting him.
Scout thinks, “If I fought Cecil I would let Atticus down” as Atticus requested for her to ignore the comments made by other children (Lee 102). Instead of teaching his child to defend herself, Atticus tells Scout to do the complete opposite: just walk away. Furthermore, Atticus teaches Scout to avoid trouble. Whereas, boys like Cecil Jacobs started the trouble, most likely taking after a parent. In another instance, Scout and Jem walk to town, passing by Mrs. Dubose’s house, an elderly lady who lives on their street.
After Mrs. Dubose yells terrible words about their father, Jem and Scout become filled with anger and fear. Despite the rude comments, the pair continue on their walk to town, ignoring the lady who speaks unforgivable words. While returning from their visit to town, Jem cuts down all of the camellia flowers in Mrs. Dubose’s yard. At that point, Atticus advises Jem to “go down and have a talk with Mrs. Dubose” (Lee 138). Despite the knowledge that most fatherly figures would have accompanied their son to assist in dealing with the situation, Atticus let Jem’s punishment begin as he had to deal with Mrs. Dubose on his own.
Eventually, it was decided that Jem would read to Mrs. Dubose every day for a whole month. As Atticus’s treatment of his family deviates from that of other members of society, he treats his enemies differently as well. Despite how other individuals treat their enemies, Atticus Finch treats all people with respect no matter how disrespectful they are to him. While Atticus is a lawyer for the defendant, Tom Robinson, he was opposing Mayella Ewell and her father, Bob Ewell. During court, Atticus interrogates both Bob Ewell and his daughter, gaining information to help prove his case.
As Mr. Finch questions Mayella Ewell, he acknowledges her as Miss Mayella, demonstrating his politeness. However, Mayella thinks that Atticus is mocking her by referring to her as Miss Mayella; at this point, Judge Taylor explains, “Mr. Finch is always courteous to everybody” (Lee 243). Therefore, Atticus treats all of the witnesses, including ones he is opposing, equally. Although the jury convicts Tom Robinson, Maycomb County knows the truth about the case: Bob Ewell raped his daughter. Consequently, the exposure of the truth left Bob Ewell to feel humiliated.
A few days after the completion of the trial, Atticus encounters Bob Ewell while exiting the post office. Additionally, Bob Ewell proceeds to threaten Atticus, spit on him, and curse. After the ironic occurrence, Atticus discusses Bob Ewell’s actions with Jem and Scout. During their conversation, Atticus states to Jem, “See if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute” (Lee 292). At this moment, the reader understands how Atticus is able to remain calm during such events. For example, throughout the event Atticus does not return any of the aggressive actions to Bob Ewell.
Furthermore, when Bob Ewell asks him if he is too proud to fight, Atticus responds that he is too old, trying to prevent elevating the situation. Moreover, Atticus has the capability to understand what Bob Ewell is going through, which in turn allows him to recognize Bob’s reason for acting in such a way. In this specific example, Atticus fathoms that Bob threatened him as a form of payback for the humiliation associated with the Ewell name. It is also apparent that Atticus treats all of his enemies similarly to his acquaintances for he knows that their actions are an effect of what they are going through during that time of their lives.
While Atticus treats his adversaries in a respectable manner, he also is acquainted with the people who are regarded as inferior by society: the blacks. As Atticus’s treatment of negro people differs so greatly from the ways in which other individuals treat them, he certainly holds true to himself despite the views of other people. One night, Aunt Alexandra advises Atticus to fire Calpurnia. Calpurnia works for Atticus helping to clean, cook, and take care of Jem and Scout. Since Calpurnia has been around for as long as the children can remember, she is like family to Jem, Scout, and Atticus.
Therefore, Atticus refuses to fire Calpurnia, stating, “Calpurnia’s not leaving this house until she wants to” (Lee 182). As Calpurnia is an individual Atticus cares for, he has trust in her and her loyalty to their family. Additionally, he recognizes the importance of her presence on the children and does not wish for her to leave as Aunt Alexandra suggests. On the other hand, numerous citizens of Maycomb County have Negro people that work for them. Despite being around them frequently, most of those individuals do not take the time to become acquainted with them, simply due to the color of their skin.
Moreover, a couple weeks after Tom Robinson is convicted, he attempts to escape the prison camp he is kept in by climbing over the fence. However, Tom is shot seventeen times, an excessive amount, and dies. Later that day, Atticus visits the Robinson’s house to tell Tom’s wife the news. At the house, he notices their little girl struggling to walk down the front stairs so he offers her his finger and “eased her down the steps” (Lee 321). Treating the blacks drastically different compared to other people in town, Atticus shows the young girl respect and kindness.
Atticus also assists her in feeling a sense of importance during a rough time in her life, while the rest of society neglects her. During that visit, Atticus informed Mrs. Robinson of her husband’s abysmal death. As Atticus has become acquainted with the family, it was the decent thing to do. Treating the blacks drastically different from other individuals in Maycomb County, Atticus’s actions oppose those of other members of society. By holding true with his morals, Atticus’s treatment of family, enemies, and blacks opposes the typical rules of conduct in his society.
Jem and Scout are raised differently compared to other children their age as they are influenced positively by their father. Despite how other people in society act towards their enemies, Atticus still treats his with respect, as he does not act poorly to them. As Tom Robinson and Calpurnia are considered friends of Atticus’s, Atticus goes against the societal standards pertaining to the blacks. Although society disapproves of Atticus’s doings, he still manages to follow what he feels is right and treat all people equally.