Referring to the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, readers will see Atticus Finch as no ordinary man. He acts as not only a role model to his children Scout and Jem Finch but to the Maycomb community itself. He is shown as a good father and role model, many times throughout the novel, and strives numerous times to represent his home community, embracing his different opinions of life itself. Atticus is unquestionably a good father, however, it’s due to his job as a lawyer where he finds all his traits he uses in his everyday life, which also symbolizes him as a person, and father. His job as a lawyer gives him the traits of compassion, commitment, and strong will, which are all traits Atticus shows while raising his children in the novel.
Firstly, Atticus’ job as a lawyer gives him compassion as one of his main character traits. Compassion is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” (dictionary.com). Atticus always has the desire to help those in need, and always has a way to engage in what’s happening around him. His job as a lawyer allows him to not only know what to take diligently but to apply sympathy to those around him, knowing his decisions will affect friends’ and families’ lives. For example, in his job he had to be compassionate toward the Robinsons when he took the trial, and once he lost it. Atticus Finch applies this trait to a good parental role when he talks to his daughter, Scout Finch, once she came home angry and somewhat confused , after her first day of school. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view… you have to climb into someone’s skin and walk around in it”(Lee 39). This states that Atticus Finch is compassionate because compassion is primarily based on sympathy, and someone willing to help. He uses this trait to not only help his daughter but to also help the people Scout was complaining about, giving them a chance. He’s always being empathetic to those around him giving Scout the good advice to do the same. This is based on compassion because to walk in someone’s shoes, you have to have a mindset of wanting to help them, which is exactly the good parental advice Atticus gave to his daughter which he gets from being a lawyer.
Secondly, Atticus’ job as a lawyer teaches him to be compassionate by needing to be the bigger man in most situations. For example, even after Mrs. Dubose was rude to him and his children, he shows his children compassion by the way he always talked to her, and handled things with Jem. He thought and acted as a lawyer the way he handled his everyday life, even with her saying such rude things such as; “Your father’s no better than the niggers and trash he works for!’ (Lee 64).“ He continued his everyday life teaching his children lessons to be compassionate. “…She died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.” (Lee 149). By saying this after she passed away, he teaches his children good lessons to understand what’s happening, to apply sympathy and empathy before making a decision. Lastly, even the disrespectful way Bob Ewell spits in Atticus’ face, he manages to continue his life, by emphasizing the situation and compassionately teaches his son Jem Finch yet another lesson as he’s watching. “Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes for a minute. destroyed his last shred of credibility at the trial…the man had to have some sort of comeback… so if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella from one last beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take.” (Lee 293). Atticus’ compassion and his will to always help is inspiring to his children. Even when he has someone threatening him and spitting at him, he still manages to show his son in this situation the bright side of things. This not only shows him being a good father to Jem but also being a good person by being compassionate and feeling for Bob Ewell’s daughter Mayella, teaching his children to do the same. Therefore due to all these points, Atticus’ compassion trait he gets from being a lawyer, makes him an excellent father to his children.
Secondly, another trait Atticus Finch obtained from being a lawyer is commitment. He uses this trait many times throughout his and his children’s lives, which will come together and prove Atticus is a good father. As a lawyer, Atticus needs commitment to find any success of any form in results. An important lesson of life that he passively teaches his children, is his commitment to equality in all forms. It’s undeniable that his job as a lawyer in the novel expresses his commitment to equality when he stands by Tom Robinson in the trial. However, Atticus also demonstrates a commitment to his children, treating them as proper equals. For example, when Aunt Alexandra talks to Scouts mistreating her as if she were some disgrace; “Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants… [her] vision of my department involved playing with small stoves, tea sets…”(Lee 108). Aunt Alexandra has a strong opinion on Scout and wishes that she could resemble others being “a ray of sunshine”. Although some say her mother was a ray, Atticus taught Scout that she still can be that ray in her pants rather than a dress. He chooses to allow Scout to be who she chooses to be where his opinion didn’t change throughout the book, meaning he was committed to her equality reflecting him as a good father. Another way Atticus shows he’s a good father is his commitment through his actual job as a lawyer.
Even though Atticus already knew what the results of the trial were going to be, he still shows his commitment to racial equality by taking the case, defending a black man. When his children were confused and asked why he would do such a thing, he teaches them the true way of life through his commitment through his beliefs. “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win. “(Lee, 78). Due to the racial prejudice back in the day, it would’ve been nearly impossible to win the trial, but that didn’t stop Atticus from trying to make a difference and show his children the importance of equality, by deciding to make a reason to try and win. He takes a stand against racism and encourages his children to do the same. For example, when he says “don’t say nigger” to Scout. He also says “I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual disease.” (Lee 117). This simply shows that Atticus doesn’t believe people should be treated differently because of their race where he’s being a good role model to his kids showing her not to follow through others’ footsteps and to stick to your beliefs, which he reflects through his job.
One last reason why Atticus’ commitment represents him as a good father is how he treats Jem and Scout together. There are many times when Jem bothers Scout and she gets mad and ends up beating him up. In most situations, Atticus is committed to his equality to show age is just a number. For example, Jem attempts to tell Scout how to behave, which immediately makes her angry while Jem was just starting to mature, which already made Scout mad, to begin with. She later started a fistfight and Atticus comes to break up the fight. Scout says that Jem was trying to tell her what to do, where rather than Atticus immediately taking Jem’s side since he’s older, and getting mad for Scout for starting a fistfight, he doesn’t focus on gender, or who’s older. ‘Let’s leave it at this: you mind Jem whenever he can make you. Fair enough?’ (Lee 138). Atticus simply bases their relationship on equality. Although what he said may open a gate to more fighting in the future, he doesn’t undertake over the fact he’s committed on allowing Jem and Scout to be who they can be, allowing them to shape themselves into the adults they strive to be in the future. The fact his opinion on allowing them to handle most things by themselves didn’t change, which means he uses his trait of commitment well, reflecting him as a good father once again. To sum up, commitment is another important trait he obtains from his job as a lawyer, which reflects him as a good parent.
Lastly, the final trait Atticus Finch acquires from being a lawyer is strong will where he effortlessly shows this trait regularly. As a lawyer, Atticus must demonstrate strong will everywhere he turns. There are many times when in a certain trial unexpected things occur, where he has to stay determined with confidence that he’ll win whatever the evidence and facts that are provided for the case. A rather obvious point where Atticus uses his strong will is when he took the trial. As some have read before, he was committed to racial equality. He uses his strong will and stays determined to do whatever he can, teaching his children the same. An example is when Atticus went to the jailhouse once Tom Robinson was moved there to protect him from the others in the racial environment. Once he got there, the group of men showed up, where Atticus uses his strong will and stands his grounds afraid but determined. His actions due to his will inspired his children to do the same, following their will to go protect their father. With Scout, Jem, and Dill showing up, Atticus strictly asks them to leave, however, Scout felt the need to say something to Mr. Cunningham. “…Don’t you remember me, Mr. Cunningham?… I go to school with Walter…He’s your boy, ain’t he? Ain’t he, sir?… He’s in my grade,…and he does right well. He’s a good boy…a real nice boy. We brought him home for dinner one time. Maybe he told you about me, I beat him up one time but he was nice about it. Tell him hey for me, won’t you? (Lee, 155). Atticus’ actions open the gate for Scout to the same in front of all the angry men, which not only arises her confidence but gives her the determination to prove a point easily. He shapes his children into confident, and determined children they should be representing a good parental role.
Another reason why Atticus’ strong will makes him a good father is the fact he’s able to keep a strong dignity while he continues working at life. One thing he is determined on is equality, where he keeps a strong dignity to respect whoever or whatever shows up. He teaches his children the same way of life by telling them to respect and to use their heads to fight. Another example is although Bob Ewell “won” the case against Tom Robinson, he held a grudge against everyone who participated in the trial making him look like a fool. When Ewell threatened Atticus’s life, by insulting and spitting on his face, Atticus simply took out a handkerchief and wiped his face. This shows he was determined to behave in a certain way, teaching his son who was in the car to stand by your beliefs with your head. “Too proud to fight, you nigger-lovin’ bastard?” (Lee 249). With Atticus’ strong will, Bob felt frustrated that he responded like that to his threats, and felt the need to fight back. Atticus’ actions do nothing but show the true way of life, being a good role model and father to his children.
The last reason why Atticus’ strong will makes him a good father is due to the fact he wants peace in his world. The novel demonstrates many forms of discrimination and racism. Atticus’ does nothing but stays determined to show to his children to never judge people and to “walk in their shoes” to fully understand them For example, he willingly taught Jem and Scout that they needed to respect Mrs. Dubose because she’s going through a tough time. He continuously demonstrated the true way to behave, even when you’re not sure what’s happening, through his friendly hellos and comments throughout the novel. He also told his children many times to give Boo Radley a break when they would make up stories about him, and try to bother him. Atticus wanted to share his beliefs with his children like a good father and was determined to do so. Due to Atticus’ strong will, he changes his children’s beliefs and gets them to “walk in others’ shoes” before making a final opinion on them to understand why Boo Radley stays shut up in the house all this… it’s because he wants to stay inside’ I think I’m beginning.’ Jem finally understands what Atticus taught him, where he understood the situation. From being the childish boy playing silly boys, to see through Atticus’ eyes. Finally, his strong will his last important trait he obtains from his job as a lawyer, which undeniably reflects him as a good parent.
In conclusion, Atticus manages his role as a single parent in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird extremely well because of his job as a lawyer. The traits of a lawyer he uses being compassion, resilience, and a strong will are all traits Atticus showed with raising his children. He’s always compassionate where he has the desire to help those in need, and always has a way to engage what’s happening around him. Atticus is also always empathetic to those around him giving his children good advice to do the same many times. He also demonstrates a commitment to his children, treating them as proper equals, as well as committing to following his beliefs to make his home a better place. Finally, he uses his strong will and stays determined to do whatever he can, teaching his children the same. Due to these many reasons, there’s no doubt that Atticus in undeniably a good father to his children.