Intro I will show that Atticus Finch is a fascinating character because he is



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Choose a novel or a short story in which the author creates a fascinating character.

By referring to appropriate techniques, show how the author has created this character and why you found him/her so fascinating.

Intro

I will show that Atticus Finch is a fascinating character because he is:

  1. a contrast with others

  2. empathetic

  3. a man of principle and good conscience

  4. a good teacher of morals

  5. a bridge between two communities

  6. a pacifist.

  7. He believes in reason over emotion

I will do this using the techniques: Setting, characterisation, plot, key incident and symbolism.

Paragraph 1 – A fascinating character because:



  • (Through setting of Maycomb) - He is a contrast with most of the other characters in the town who are hypocrites or have different public and private personas.

  • E,g. Boo Radley’s dad: outwardly he is an upstanding member of the community: “a foot washing Baptist”, but at home he is a tyrant who believes who “anything that’s a pleasure is a sin” and he has cruelly kept his son locked up for fifteen years.

  • Miss Caroline tells her class that in America they, “don’t believe in persecuting anybody”, but after the trial Scout hears her say that the verdict was the right result because it was time somebody “taught ‘em a lesson” (the black townsfolk) and “they were getting’ way above themselves.

  • (Through setting of Maycomb) - He is a contrast with most of the other characters in the town who are hypocrites or have different public and private personas. Atticus is not a hypocrite and he is the same man in public and in private: “Atticus don’t ever do anything to Jem and me in the house that he don’t do in the yard”, I said, feeling it my duty to defend my parent. Miss Maudie: “Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public street”.

Paragraph 2 - A fascinating character because:

  • (Through characterisation) He is empathetic – he sees things from others point of view: For example, when he tell’s Scout to try to understand the Ewell’s “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”.

Paragraph 3 - A fascinating character because:

  • (Through key incident of Tom Robinson’s trial) He is a man of principle and good conscience – he takes on Tom’s case because “ If I didn’t, I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again”. Also (through characterisation) – he has to do the right thing, even if that goes against what everyone else thinks or says: before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience”.

Paragraph 4 – a fascinating character because:

  • (Through plot) - A good teacher of morals – we know this because throughout the book he teaches Scout and Jem good morals. For example, he tells them after a playground fight between Scout and Cecil Jacobs, to avoid getting into fights even if they are verbally abused and to practice quiet courage instead “just hold your head high and keep those fists down.” He tells them to “Try fighting with your head for a change.”

Paragraph 5 – a fascinating character because

  • (Through plot) A bridge between two communities – we know this because after he has defended Tom Robinson so well during the trial (he proves Tom is innocent but the racist jury still find him guilty) the galleries full of black townsfolk stand up and applaud: “Miss Jean Louise (Scout’s real name), stand up. Your father’s passin’”. (Through key incident) We also know he is a bridge between the two communities because he has the respect of the town’s white folk, too. When a lynch mob come for Tom he very bravely stands in their way. He will not let them touch him and he has enough status in the town to send them home: “You can turn around and go home again, Walter,” Atticus said pleasantly.

Paragraph 6 – a fascinating character because:

  • (Through key incident) - He is a pacifist (non –violent) - When Bob Ewell spits on him in the street instead of reacting he walks away saying: “I wish – Bob Ewell wouldn’t chew tobacco.”

Paragraph 7 – a fascinating character because:

  • (Through key incident) He believes in reason over emotion – when Bob Ewell attacks Jem (breaking his arm) he is unsure whether Jem or Boo Radley stabbed Ewell. Rather than doing the emotional thing of immediately protecting his son he believes in reason - that it should go to a court to be decided fairly because “ I don’t want him growing up with a whisper about him”.

Point 8 – a fascinating character because:

  • (Through symbolism) – He tries to protect the weak and vulnerable in society – He uses the symbolism of the mockingbird because they only sing for us, they do not cause any problems. By the same token we should not make good men like Tom and Boo suffer: “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”.

Conclusion

Atticus Finch is a fascinating character because he is:

  1. a contrast with others

  2. empathetic

  3. a man of principle and good conscience

  4. a good teacher of morals

  5. a bridge between two communities

  6. a pacifist.

  7. He believes in reason over emotion

This has been shown using the techniques: Setting, characterisation, plot, key incident and symbolism.

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