To Kill a Mockingbird Notes

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  • Look at Atticus's character from what Bob Ewell or Stephanie Crawford say
  • Praising comments made by Alexandra, his sister
  • Criticizing comments made by Mrs Dubose

Anything that Miss Maudie Atkinson says about Atticus can be trusted because of Scout's trust in her. Some of the things that Miss Maudie Atkinson says are:

“He's the same in the courtroom as he is on the public streets”    Chapter 19

“There are some men in the world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father's one of them”    Chapter 22

“Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident?”    Chapter 22

Atticus as a Father

  • He treats them not like they are children, but instead, like they are young adults. He never shuns the truth from them and speaks to them in a very matter-of-fact way. An example of this is when he answers the questions asked to him by Scout about the law and definitions of ****.
  • He will always base his judgement on both sides of an argument.
  • He would never beat his children like Mr Bob Ewell would do. Instead he acts in a very firm way, an example of this is when he forces Jem to read for Mrs Dubose and when he makes sure that the children obey Aunt Alexandra and Calpurnia's rules.
  • He never stereotypes people, which is clearly shown by the fact that he represents a black man in a very racist community.
  • He sees that the children need a mother figure, and recognizes that Calpurnia is far better able than he is to be a homemaker.

Atticus' diplomacy (The art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way)

  • When Atticus is critized by the community for representing a black man he never retaliates and he also teaches Jem and Scout that there are punishments for retaliation.
  • When Atticus is provoked he simply remains calm, for example: how he handles Bob Ewell's challenge: “Too proud to fight?” “No,” says Atticus, “too old” (Think about the ambiguity - on the surface it seems to mean that Atticus is no longer strong and fit enough to fight; but also it might mean that fighting is not something that adults should do - which could imply that Bob has not grown up).
  • Atticus understands that people will want to pay for his services but may not be able to afford it, he does not want to patronise them so instead he accepts gifts such as potatoes from the Cunnighams or gifts from black people after Tom's Trial.

Atticus's sympathy

  • He feels sorrt for Walter Cunningham so he engages in conversations about farming-something that Walter can answer in an expert way unlike he would do if Atticus asked him about school work.
  • Atticus admires how Mrs Dubose knew that she was going to die soon but she still insisted in coming off morphine.
  • Near the end of the novel Atticus does not make Boo do


Amber Shaw


Thanks so much!

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