To Kill a Mockingbird Characters - Atticus Finch
Atticus, a lawyer, is the most scrupulous character in To Kill A Mockingbird. He teaches his views of being just and open-minded to Scout throughout the novel. Atticus treats everyone he knows equally regardless of race or class as he believes you could not judge someone unless you "stood in his shoes and walked around in them".
The central message and the title of the novel come from Atticus Finch. He believes it is wrong to kill mockingbirds because all they do is sing beautiful songs and never harm anyone. This motif is shown through Tom Robinson and Boo Radley who both never hurt anyone yet are disliked because of other people's prejudices.
The main plot of To Kill A Mockingbird is based on Atticus's defence of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman. Because of his decision to defend a black man Atticus and the children face disdain from the rest of the town. Despite their insults and threats, Atticus refuses to give in and defends Tom Robinson to the best of his ability, even managing to prove him innocent in the end.
When Bob Ewell is accidentally killed at the end of the novel, in order to protect Boo Radley the sheriff insists that Mr Ewell fell on his own knife. Interestingly and unusually, Atticus eventually agrees to the sheriff's version of events despite believing that Bob Ewell was killed. This avoided the killing of another mockingbird.
Harper Lee based the character of Atticus Finch on her father, Amasa Lee who was a lawyer and Alabama senator. The last name of Finch probably came from her mother's name and the first name Atticus came from the ancient Persian orator Titus Pomponius Atticus.
To Kill a Mockingbird Characters - Scout Finch
Scout is an intelligent six year old girl who can read and write before beginning the first grade. She is also a tomboy and so is teased by the other girls. Scout has a crush on Dill Harris who comes to Maycomb to visit each summer.
At first Scout is immature and prejudiced like other typical Maycomb children, her first instinct being to turn to force and fighting to resolve conflicts. However as To Kill A Mockingbird proceeds Scout matures, becoming more rational and learning to see other points of view thanks to the teaching of her father, Atticus Finch.
One of Scout's initial points of prejudice is Boo Radley, the Finch's neighbour. At first the children imagine Boo to be some kind of monster because of the rumours they have heard about him from other townsfolk. However, after Boo shows them kindness and even saves Scout and her brother from an attack she realises she had judged Boo prematurely before even meeting him.
At the end of To Kill A Mockingbird Scout feels regret that she never repaid the kindness Boo showed her. It is then that she realises the danger of prejudice and the importance of seeing things from other peoples' perspective, or "standing in their shoes".