To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old.
The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The story takes place during the Great Depression in the fictional Maycomb County, Alabama, and revolves around Atticus Finch, a white lawyer who defends a black man accused of raping a white woman. Through the course of the trial, Atticus Finch faces hostility and criticism from the townspeople, but ultimately prevails in getting his client acquitted.
To Kill a Mockingbird has been widely praised for its exploration of difficult topics such as race and justice, and it has become one of the most beloved novels in American literature.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee demonstrates how the impact of truth and idealism may be stronger than racism and fear in one’s life. This book is ageless. The author captures life in a small Southern town during the 1930s. She helps us comprehend ourselves better by using her characters: what we do and why we do it.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, racism and fear are palpable. The town is divided between blacks and whites, with little interaction between the two groups. There is a sense of unease, even danger, when Atticus Finch, a white lawyer, agrees to defend a black man accused of a crime he did not commit. Despite the risks, Atticus believes in justice and truth and knows that it is the right thing to do.
When the trial begins, it quickly becomes clear that the man is innocent. However, the jury convicts him anyway. This verdict demonstrates the power of racism and fear in the town. Even though they know the truth, people are too afraid to stand up for what is right.
Atticus Finch is the protagonist who has the greatest influence on all of us. He is an oddity in this narrative since he does not subscribe to the same racial prejudice as much of the town. He is committed to his own sense of right and justice. This idealism differs from that of most people in Maycomb.
Atticus Finch is a moral hero because he teaches the children to be empathetic, he shows courage in the face of danger and he is willing to sacrifice his own safety for what is right.
One way Atticus Finch impacts us all is by teaching the children to be empathetic. In this novel, empathy is shown as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Atticus Finch embodies this definition of empathy as he frequently puts himself in other people’s shoes.
For example, when Atticus is assigned to defend Tom Robinson, he does not see Tom as a black man, but rather as a fellow human being who is innocent until proven guilty. Additionally, Atticus also empathizes with Bob Ewell, the man who ends up attacking him and his children. Atticus knows that Bob is a product of his difficult life circumstances and does not hold any malice towards him.
Atticus Finch also shows courage in the face of danger. Despite the risks, Atticus agrees to defend Tom Robinson in court. He knows that he will be ridiculed by the community and may even be in physical danger, but he believes that it is the right thing to do.
Furthermore, even after Tom is killed, Atticus still stands up for what he believes in. When Bob Ewell attacks him and his children, Atticus could have easily killed Bob in self-defense. However, Atticus chooses not to do so because he does not believe in taking a human life, no matter the circumstances.
Lastly, Atticus Finch is willing to sacrifice his own safety for what is right. When Bob Ewell attacks him and his children, Atticus could have easily killed Bob in self-defense. However, Atticus chooses not to do so because he does not believe in taking a human life, no matter the circumstances. By Stand up for his beliefs, even when it puts him at risk, Atticus Finch serves as a moral hero for us all.
Atticus Finch strives to live a model existence unaffected by the judgments of others. Atticus is unable to support an unjust and unethical idea. “I’ve got to live with myself,” he says. Despite knowing that Tom Robinson will be imprisoned regardless because of his race, Atticus defends him anyway.
Atticus wants to save Mayella Ewell’s life even though she has falsely accused Tom Robinson of rape. Atticus Finch is a moral hero because he always stands up for what he believes in, no matter the consequences.
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird highlights instances of heroism and cowardice through the characters of Atticus Finch and his children, Scout and Jem. As its title suggests, To Kill a Mockingbird is largely concerned with the death of innocence. The novel examines how someone’s innocence can be corrupted by evil and hate.
When Atticus’s brother Jack suggests that Atticus find a way to get out of taking the case for Tom Robinson, Atticus replies firmly, “But do you think I could face my children otherwise?” Further, he explains that in his idealism, he does not want his children to grow up thinking that Maycomb is defined by its racism and bigotry. He knows the real character of the men sitting on the jury and he knows he will lose, but he also knows that defending Tom is the right thing to do.
To Atticus, it is not so much that justice will be done, but that justice must be seen to be done. While To Kill a Mockingbird is undoubtedly a book about racism in the 1930s South, it is also, as demonstrated by Atticus’s moral code, about something much more than that. To Atticus Finch, justice and equality are not just words—they are ways of life. To him, it does not matter whether Tom Robinson is guilty or innocent; what matters is that he receives a fair trial. This is because Atticus knows that the real trial is not taking place in the courtroom but in the minds and hearts of the people of Maycomb. And it is here where Atticus hopes to make a difference.
Ultimately, To Kill a Mockingbird is Atticus’s story. He is the moral center of the novel and his character remains unchanged throughout the course of the book. In contrast, almost every other major character in To Kill a Mockingbird undergoes some sort of significant change, usually for the better.
For example, Scout matures from an ignorant child to a more tolerant and understanding young adult. Jem also grows up during the course of the novel, but his growth is not as steady or as positive as Scout’s. At first, he idealizes Atticus and wants to be just like him but, after Tom Robinson’s trial, Jem becomes disillusioned with justice and withdraws into himself.
The moral growth of Atticus’s children is mirrored in the character arc of Boo Radley. Like Scout and Jem, Boo starts out as an outsider—a figure of mystery and fear. But, also like Scout and Jem, he eventually comes to be accepted and even loved by the people of Maycomb. In the end, it is through their relationships with Boo that Scout and Jem come to understand the true meaning of justice and compassion.
While To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the 1930s, its messages are just as relevant today as they were when the book was first published. The novel addresses issues of race, class, gender, and innocence in a way that is both timeless and universal. In Atticus, Harper Lee has created a character who embodies these values and who serves as a model for us all.