The novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, written by Harper Lee, is based in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. This book contains strong themes about the moral nature of human beings during the 1930’s and the racial prejudice in the town of Maycomb. Several characters can be portrayed as memorable. However, Atticus Finch; father of Scout and Jem Finch, stood out because of his honesty, his non-racist attitudes and his empathy towards others. In this essay, I will explore the ways Atticus has been made memorable and the techniques used by the author to depict him in this way.Atticus Finch’s honesty is a key aspect of his character and lingers throughout the novel. His honesty shines through both his personal life and his professional life.
One example of his honesty is when he is convinced Jem killed Bob Ewell after hearing Scout’s verdict on the incident. Atticus is determined to make sure Jem faces his consequences when he says ” I don’t want my boy starting out with something like this over his head. Best way to clear the air is to have it all out in the open”. The technique used here is ’emotive language’, which demonstrates Atticus’s morality on a heavy scale as it shows he is willing to disregard the fact that Jem is his son and instead treats him as equal to everyone.
This makes Atticus a memorable character as he was not afraid to conceal his son from the law if he was held accountable and is a strong example of his honesty.The town of Maycomb was blighted with racist views and unjust opinions towards the black community. Nonetheless, Atticus was one of the only adults in the novel who disagreed with the prejudice thrown towards people of colour. When Scout asks Atticus if he is a “nigger-lover” he replies with “I certainly am.
I do my best to love everyone.” which shows that he is unlike most of the community of Maycomb. He doesn’t believe that there is one superior race or that anyone should be judged according to their skin colour. His anti-racist views allowed him to defend Tom Robinson to the best of his ability, ignoring the whispers about him from the citizens of Maycomb.The technique used by the author is ‘dialogue’ and this conveys a stronger relationship between the reader and the characters as it makes the reader feel as though they are part of the conversation.
In addition, Atticus travels to the black community to visit Tom Robinson’s wife, Helen Robinson, to inform her of his death. Normally around this time period, this act would be strange as most white people would have sent a messenger to deliver the message, not wanting to be seen amongst the blacks. This is a symbolic action as he can be seen as a contrast to Maycomb and their racist attitudes, which adds to the prospect of him being a memorable character.There are many occasions where Atticus’s empathy is shown, particularly towards the black community. “Tell them- tell them they must never do it again. Times are too hard”, the black population sends Atticus food which ‘buries the table’ to express their gratitude towards him for defending Tom Robinson.
Atticus is overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness, although he understands that it would have taken a vast financial toll on them, so tells Calpurnia (the black cook) that they shouldn’t send any more. His empathy is evident here as he realizes Tom’s underprivileged friends would have struggled to gather all the food due to their poverty-stricken lifestyle. The technique utilized by the author is ‘dialogue’ which shows the significant conversation between Atticus and Calpurnia. Atticus’s empathy is a fundamental part of his personality as it is manifested throughout the whole novel which makes his character extremely memorable.