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To Kill A Mockingbird: Atticus Finch Representing The Golden Rule

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Throughout the first half of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch, the father of the main characters in the story demonstrates the golden rule that one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself with his words and actions of empathy. He teaches his children, Jem and Scout, how to be respectful and understanding towards others. Atticus shows them that there is value in having respect and a caring attitude for one another in different troubling situations.

In the beginning of the story when Scout starts going to school, she complains to Atticus that she wouldn’t go to school anymore because of all the afflictions she went through during her day. Scout explains that her teacher, Miss Caroline, said that Atticus taught her all wrong, and that they shouldn’t read anymore. Atticus remains calm and tells Scout that there is a “simple trick” to getting along better with everyone. He says that “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view 一 until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee 30). This shows that Atticus considers different perspectives in a situation while having compassion for others different than him.

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Another example of Atticus using the Golden rule is when he interacts with their short-tempered neighbor, Mrs. Dubose. Scout says that whenever Jem and Scout passed by Mrs. Dubose, the “meanest old woman who ever lived,” (Lee 35), they would be given an angry stare, or when they would try to greet her nicely, she would yell at them to be polite. Jem would often get angry at what Mrs. Dubose said to him. However, Atticus continues to show his respect towards Mrs. Dubose. Atticus tells Jem that he needs to be more considerate and sympathetic towards others. He says, “Easy does it, son. She’s an old lady and she’s ill. You just hold your head high and be a gentleman. Whatever she says to you, it’s your job not to let her make you mad.” (Lee 100). When they would visit Mrs. Dubose, Atticus would sweep off his hat, wave politely and said “Good evening, Mrs. Dubose! You look like a picture this evening” (Lee 100). Scout says that “It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” (Lee 100). These events indicate that Jem and Scout look up to Atticus and is good-hearted towards everyone.

Atticus always respects others regardless of who they are and incorporates the Golden Rule in how he interacts. He is one of the biggest role models for Jem and Scout, so he often influences the two children’s actions. Atticus’ words and actions of empathy towards others establishes the rule that people will get treated depending on how they treat others. In showing and feeling respect for another person, Atticus is exercising the golden rule.

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To Kill A Mockingbird: Atticus Finch Representing The Golden Rule. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“To Kill A Mockingbird: Atticus Finch Representing The Golden Rule.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
To Kill A Mockingbird: Atticus Finch Representing The Golden Rule. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2023].
To Kill A Mockingbird: Atticus Finch Representing The Golden Rule [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:
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