Atticus and Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird”: Nurturing Wisdom and Independence

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Updated: Aug 14, 2023
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Atticus: A Model of Virtue

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus is portrayed as a civilized character. This reflects on his parenting skills, which are reactionary to some; however, they are exceptional. To begin with, Atticus sets an exceedingly good example for Jem and Scout. Scout expresses how “he did not do the things our schoolmates’ fathers did: he never went hunting, he did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke. He sat in the living room and read”.

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To clarify, Atticus just wants the best for his kids’ future. He is a very educated man who is aware of the way he acts. He does not do these things because he wants to influence Jem and Scout to make the right decisions. For instance, he knows that smoking and drinking are bad for your health and are very addictive. Thinking about how it affected the Ewell family makes him stay away from it. Although he has a history of being “One Shot Finch,” the town’s best shooter, he is very humble about it. 

Atticus and His Values

Atticus is a very enlightened person who has consideration for everyone, including animals, and he does not hunt for that reason. Furthermore, Atticus gives everyone a chance to justify themselves, and he respects all people. As he is explaining the Tom Robinson case to Scout, he says, “Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one’s mine, I guess. You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down”. Seeing how Atticus couldn’t turn down this case demonstrates how he is not hesitant to give people second chances.  It is obvious that he tries to love everyone no matter who they are. It seems as though he is being courageous, even with all the backlash that he gets. Tom Robinson is accused of doing something very gruesome; therefore, people are insulting Atticus as to why he is defending this black man. 

Atticus and Scout: Life Lessons

Maycomb is a town that favors whites, and there is no way that he will win this case, yet, he still fights. He indirectly teaches Jem and Scout these moral lessons, which could potentially help them in the future. Some say that he gives his children too much freedom to do whatever they want. It can seem that way because he usually does not worry about his kids’ safety when they go out. However, Atticus is only trying to build a trusting relationship with his kids.

Raising Independent Thinkers

This can be seen as beneficial because it gives Jem and Scout an early start on how to be independent. It also gives them a chance to be themselves, such as letting Scout dress however she wants to. Given all these reasons, Atticus has a parenting style that is very unique and effective. Because of his liberal ways, one can see that Jem and Scout are much more free-minded and mature than their peers.


  1. Lee, Harper. “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
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Atticus and Scout in "To Kill a Mockingbird": Nurturing Wisdom and Independence. (2023, Aug 14). Retrieved from