There are certain elements in literature that are essential in the creation of a “classic”. One of the most critical elements is that of a character who acts as the novel’s core or base. The character is responsible for maintaining the stability of society within the novel, exhibiting qualities of a true hero, and constantly emphasizing the novel’s central theme or themes. In the timeless classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus Finch serves as the core of the novel by displaying a character of stability, humility, and high moral standard. 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 their skin, and is able to defend Tom Robinson solely based 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 (205).
This justifies the fact that Atticus believes in the equality of a society, based not only on race, but on 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 other’s self-righteousness, 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”, 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 (98). ” 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. He teaches his children that they must, “learn to be compassionate and understanding of the problems and conditions of life faced by other people (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 believes that an individual should be judged based on the person within. He instills this value in his children, as well as the value of changing perspectives to better understand life from other’s points 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 (34).
This is an excellent example of the basis on which Atticus Finch structures his beliefs, and he holds true to these moral standards through the entire novel. 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. ”