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Atticus the Typical Hero

Updated October 17, 2020
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Atticus the Typical Hero essay

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Typically, a hero is seen as someone with superpowers, who files around in tights all day. Neither superpowers, nor tights defines one a hero, in reality, heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary acts. In the novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” Harper Lee portrays the acts of heroism through the character, Atticus Finch, a distinguished lawyer and the widowed father of two. Throughout the novel, Atticus Finch proves himself a hero in the way he displays courage, his strong set of morality and his ability to tolerate others.

During a time when white people were thought of being superior to blacks, Atticus Finch, a white man, defends a black man in court; as Atticus is one of the few in Maycomb who is not blinded by the ignorance of other people, he put aside society’s racist beliefs and took the case. He explains to his children that he is not challenging the rules of society, he is defending Tom simply because it is the right thing to do and that the majority is not always right. He said, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience” (Lee 140). Social prejudice amongst the races was crucial back then. With the large white community in Maycomb, the blacks knew that Tom would not stand a chance against Bob without the help of Atticus. So even with all the barriers of racism and social prejudice in the community, Atticus defends Tom

Robinson. He has the courage to do so, as he did not believe in racial inequality and he believes that everyone deserves a fair chance. Atticus knew defending Tom meant, putting his family in a position of criticism by the white community. Acknowledging these factors, Atticus decides that the life lesson this experience will bring to the town outweighs the negatives. Cecil Jacobs criticizes Scout, when he says “my folks said your daddy was a disgrace an’ that nigger oughta hang from the water tank” (Lee 102). The news of Atticus’ decision to take the case causes Jem and Scout to face constant harassment and insults from the rest of the town. It would have been much easier for Atticus to stay silent and agree with the majority; but he did not do that, Atticus knew that having to bear the criticism is not that significant comparing to the rights and innocence of one. Ultimately this is important in proving Atticus as a hero because as it must have taken great courage for him to distinguish and choose to do what is right vs wrong, considering all the consequences he had to bear, Atticus did not let adversity along the way discourage him.

Believing in your morals and being courageous is very different. Atticus stuck to his beliefs, which is one of the most important characteristics of identifying one a hero, besides staying committed to your ideas. Not only did he defy the majority, he stands by his beliefs and brought a change to racial inequality. “ you just have to hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t let ’em get your goat.” (Lee 76) One with strong morality aims to protect their moral values and standards, they will not change because of what other people think. Atticus believes what he is doing is right, he will not let anyone change that. He expresses his beliefs by continuing to defend Tom even when the whole town was upset with him, it got to the point where people began to gossip and talk about him even around his own children. Yet Atticus did not let the verbal abuse from the town get to him, instead, he just continues doing what is right. Towards the end of the novel, Atticus’ morals plays a huge role in his decision making during the death of Bob Ewell. Atticus is aware that Bob Ewell is dead and he assumes that Jem was the one that killed him out of self-defense. “you heard what scout said, there’s no doubt about it. She said Jem got up and yanked him off her. He probably got hold of Ewell’s knife somehow in the dark. . . .” (Lee 365) Right is right, wrong is wrong. It is wrong to take a person’s life even if it is out of self-defense. His beliefs and morals are so strong it can even bring him to convict his own child of a crime. Ultimately this is important because this proves how strong Atticus’ morals are, leading to the purpose of him defending Tom Robinson; with the hope that his morals would become contagious and help him to the defeat of racial inequality.

Atticus is a hero because he exhibits certain heroic traits including his high set of morals, his substantial amount of courage and ability to tolerate others. Although Atticus may lack some tights and super powers, he possesses all the characteristics of a true hero. So what if Atticus doesn\’t have super powers, so what if he doesn’t wear tights and fly around all day? Although he is a fictional character, he demonstrates that anyone can be a hero even if they don\’t have super powers.

Atticus the Typical Hero essay

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