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Transcript of Atticus Finch
His biggest problem as a father is his habit of putting other things, like his social conscience, in front of his parental duties. Things He Isn't What Helps People Like Atticus Atticus actually puts effort into defending Tom Robinson, which leads to the majority of the town disliking him and calling him a "n*gger-lover." And Not Like Him Atticus Jem Scout The Tom Robinson Case Atticus's Gamble "I do my best to love everybody." "If Atticus Fincy drank until he was drunk, he wouldn't be as hard as some men are at their best." "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. "I couldn't go to church and worship God if I didn't try to help that man." "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win." "'That boy might go to the chair, but he's not going till the truth's told . . . And you know what the truth is.'" What Makes Atticus a Good Lawyer What Makes Atticus a Bad Lawyer Atticus is extremely good at getting Scout and Jem to do what he wants. Jem especially values Atticus's opinion very highly, and hates disappointing him.
Atticus never uses physical violence as a tactic to get his way, and he rarely threatens the children, either. He generally reasons with them.
Atticus is funny! When Dill runs away to the Finch's house, Atticus tells him to "put some of the county back where it belongs, the soil erosion's bad enough as it is," meaning to take a bath. Dill, of course, is completely confused, but Scout understands her father's sense of humor. "Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets." We then see Atticus interacting with townspeople. The Ewells Mrs. Dubose Boo Radley Arthur Radley The Cunninghams Aunt Alexandra "Atticus aimed to defend him. That's what they didn't like about it." "'You've got everything to lose from this, Atticus. I mean everything.'" The Tom Robinson is what puts everything in jeopardy. Immediately, the place of Atticus in Maycomb society is called into question. People who are usually friends with the Finches, like the Cunninghams, are suddenly showing up at their door to threaten them. Kids at Scout's school shout nasty things about Atticus. Even some of their own family don't support them. Someone attacks Jem and Scout. So what made it worth it for Atticus? Attucus's First Case! Atticus's first case was defending two Haverfords. They killed a blacksmith "in a misunderstanding arising from the alleged wrongful detention of a mare" in front of three other people. They STILL didn't plead guilty, so they were hanged. Answer: Atticus's conscience. He can't imagine NOT defending Tom Robinson simply because of his race. He knows that Tom Robinson is innocent, telling Aunt Alexandra that he is "in favor of Southern womanhood as much as anybody, but not for preserving polite fiction at the expense of a human life." Besides, Atticus does not care about being called names. He tells Scout, "It's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you." "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don't pretend to understand." Atticus is very understanding. He takes what he can get financial-wise for cases, and he doesn't ask for more.
The townspeople know that he is a "deep reader, a mighty deep reader." They know that he knows what he is doing as a lawyer.
Atticus is fair. Most townspeople know that if they are in the right, Atticus will side with them and help them not just as a lawyer, but as a friend/counselor (like Mrs. Dubose). Atticus doesn't plead what he doesn't believe himself, if his clients will let him. He always tries to win his cases, even if it is impossible. He puts his job before anything else. Actually, Atticus is pretty much irreproachable for his conduct as a lawyer. Our only problem with him is how much he is willing to give up to defend Tom Robinson. Because as it says in the column next door, the job comes first. Representing Tom Robinson jeopardizes Atticus's social standing in the town. Representing Tom Robinson puts Scout and Jem at risk for emotional (most townspeople) and physical violence (Bob Ewell).