Five reasons I love Atticus Finch

This comes much much later than I planned but here it is – my own personal weekly A to Z series. This year in April I signed up for the A to Z Challenge with the topic ‘Fascinating characters from books we love’. However I bowed out for fear of not doing justice to the characters under the pressure of daily posting.

Starting today I hope I can bring out a well-loved character each week. Endearing, annoying, good or evil the one thing they’ll have in common will be their ability to enthrall and entertain. They’re the ones that outlived the books.

I begin with the letter A and I couldn’t have found a better person to kick it off with than my favourite man Atticus Finch – the gentleman, the lawyer, the father from ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. It couldn’t have been better timed either since Harper Lee’s sequel ‘Go Set a Watchman’ went on sale yesterday, 20 years after her first and only book. To read reactions to her new release you can go here. Harper Lee modeled Atticus Finch on her own father and went on to face plenty of flak for that. I blogged about it earlier at my  other blog.

Here are five reasons why I love Atticus Finch

1. He’s the best go-to dad
He’s the kind of father you could ask almost anything and get a satisfactory answer. He doesn’t patronise or pamper. He imparts simple everyday values in the most uncomplicated manner. Look at how he explains empathy to his children. “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.” Isn’t that brilliant?

2. He is a man with a conscience
.. an active one that he considers very important. Says he, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” He goes ahead and takes up the case of a black man at the risk of being ostracised and in the face of threats to his children’s lives for as he says, “Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself.”

atticus finch

Gregory Peck played Atticus Finch in the film adaptation of the novel

3. He’s brave
Bravery in everyday life is a very underrated concept and that’s what Atticus had. He doesn’t wear his courage like a badge. Scout, his ten-year old daughter, comes to feel the same when later in the book she says. “It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.

4. He’s modest beyond reason
He is always falling short on his kids’ admiration scale yet he never defends himself. Scout feels his inadequacies most strongly. ‘He  cannot tackle a football, doesn’t drive a dump truck and was practically blind in one eye’. She’s desperate to find a redeeming factor in her dad. Then one day he picks up a gun, albeit reluctantly, and in a single shot takes down a mad dog, to her complete awe and delight. Miss Maudie, their neighbour, explains, “..Because he was a crack shot he realised God had given him an advantage over most living things….. he decided he wouldn’t shoot till he had to,..”. Hello! Who does that?

5. He is a perfect gentleman
…a gentleman in a true blue, old-fashioned understated way. He’s not beyond taking his son to task for falling short on his ‘gentlemanly’ traits no matter how trying the situation.

I’ve been reading with a tiny pang of apprehension, that in Lee’s new book Atticus turns racist.. You can read the article here. I am trying to keep my faith. I just hope Lee does him justice. I’d hate to see him fall. Need to get to that book fast.

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Do share your favourite characters with me. And don’t forget to come back next week. Meanwhile take a guess about the gentleman in my next post. Yes, he’s a man again and he’s a teacher. Go guess.

Joining in the ABC Wednesday fun. The meme is in its 17th round. Today’s letter is of course A.

abc 17 (1)

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33 thoughts on “Five reasons I love Atticus Finch

  1. Aparna George

    Nice list Tulika :), you’ve really brought the great aspects of the character to life here. Waiting with bated breath to read the new one, with the hope that all the hype is much ado about nothing.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      I’m just hoping Atticus doesn’t disappoint. If he has turned racist I hope Lee has given him reason enough. I have feel though that I’ll like the new Scout better.

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  2. Zainab

    Now, I think I certainly SHOULD read it. I think the last book I read was (oops) were the Twilight Series, but hey it was a book LOL!

    Lovely description, now I feel that I know this man. Very well written!

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Oh you must must. To Kill a Mockingbird is told from the perspective of his ten-year-old daughter. It’s a wonderful read. And BTW I quite liked the Twilight Series too.

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  3. Su-sieee! Mac

    I hadn’t thought about reading Lee’s sequel because she didn’t want it published. But, now, you have me curious. I like To Kill a Mockingbird. It was simple, solid, and sincere, which, I think, is because the characters are. Atticus Finch is a great role model. They ought to reshow the movie in the theaters again.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Absolutely. It is one of my all time favourite books. Apparently Lee did agree to the sequel being published and also refused to make any changes to the original manuscript. I’m curious too.

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  4. Nonnie USA

    and as for the movie, it didn’t hurt having Gregory Peck acting in that role! I’m divided in whether to buy Harper Lee’s just published book.

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    1. Beat About the Book

      Ah Oh I got only part of your comment. Anyhow it seems the best part ;-). Isn’t Gregory Peck just amazing? Apparently he befriended the very reclusive Lee too and they got along very well together.

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  5. lmkazmierczak

    Well thought out analysis…looking forward to more of your favorite characters. My recent read was The Martian by Andy Weir…his main character, Watney, is resourceful, optimistic, jaunty…I recommend it.

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  6. readerwil

    Thank you for this post.Last week I read about this second book of Harper Lee. I have always been an admirer of Atticus Finch, not in the least by the performance of Gregory Peck in the movie. I really hope that he hasn’t changed in this second book too much. I shall have to read it. I liked “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I am glad you wrote this excellent review on this book, for I was thinking to do it when the letter H of Harper Lee would have its turn in the ABC Wednesday meme, but I found it too difficult.
    Wil, ABCW Team.

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  7. diwestwell

    I’m not so sure whether I really want to read the sequel to a great story but turn Atticus into a racist is a travesty of imagination, that I would never have hoped Harper Lee to change such a wonderful and honest character so much…so the jury is out on this one !
    I like your analogy of Atticus, absolutely spot on!

    Best wishes,
    Di.
    ABCW team..

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Thanks Di. I feel quite the same about the sequel yet I cannot but read it if only to understand why she would do that.

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      1. diwestwell

        Hi Tulika,
        I shall wait to read your thoughts of the sequel before I commit myself to reading it!
        I loved Gregory Peck as Atticus and would hate to have my imagine of him tarnished.
        Best wishes,
        Di,
        ABCW team.

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  8. Rachna

    Can you believe it? I still have not read To Kill a Mockingbird. 😦 Have been meaning to since a long time. Must correct that soon.

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  9. Shilpa Garg

    I have read it in school and based on your recommendation, I bought it last year and guess what, it is still lying untouched. MUST read it now.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      I know how that happens. We have such long pending reading lists. So many books such little time!

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  10. parulthakur24

    I havent read the book but I know it’s a classic. The way you have described the character, I am already thinking when should I add the book to my schedule 🙂
    Good one on starting the A to Z 🙂 All the best!

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  11. nabanita

    I love Atticus Finch too..He is one of the reasons why I love this book…For every reason you stated and more , he is one of my favourite characters..I didn’t know she faced flak because of this…

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    1. Beat About the Book

      Naba she modelled Atticus on her own father and the anti-racial track didn’t go down with the local people of that time. She was inundated with hate mail. Some say that was one reason she never wrote another book. Quite sad, isn’t it?

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  12. lesliebc

    one of the best books of all time, 10th graders study it and I have the privilege of helping them as a tutor.

    Leslie
    abcw team

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      You must then be well familitary with the book and its characters. It should be read by young adults and is so relevant even today.

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