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Finding a Hero in To Kill a Mockingbird

The American Heritage Dictionary defines hero as: a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength. In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, one character in particular proves himself to be heroic. Atticus defends a black man, named Tom Robinson, he forgives a rotten old woman, named Mrs. Dubose, and hides his amazing marksmanship for the sake of his children and all living things. He proves that being knocked down, doesn’t mean you can’t put your life back together again.

Since Atticus had his children and had to start rearing them on his own, he realized that having an unfair advantage over living things, can be a blessing and a burden. Atticus finds himself hiding his marksman past from his family and decides never to look back until he had to. But, one day he received a call from his housekeeper, Calpurnia, about a crazed dog in the neighborhood. Atticus heads to the house and kills the dog in one shot. When Atticus’ kids question a family friend about Atticus’ shot, she leads them on the story of Atticus’ shooting talent. When the kids ask why he stopped shooting, the friends response is “I think maybe he put his gun down when he realized that God had given him an unfair advantage over most living things, I guess he’d decided he wouldn’t shoot until he had to, and he had to toady.” The quote proves that not shooting, can save more lives, then you realize. Atticus is a lawyer; in his time he defended many people, but his most notorious was fast becoming a Maycomb county history maker, he was defending a black man, accused of raping a white girl. Atticus feels that this black man is innocent. When asked by his children, why he is doing the case, his response was, “For a number of reasons. The main one is, If I don’t, I couldn’t represent this county in Legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something ever again.” This quote proves that if Atticus did not defend the man, he would be a coward, and a racist.

When Atticus started his case, his children found themselves constantly confronted by a bitter old woman, with a dim view of Atticus. Soon as this woman grew sick and Atticus’ children no longer saw her, Atticus went to see her. When he returned one of those times, he told his children that she had died. Atticus told his children, “She died beholding nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.” Atticus shows here that even after the things this woman said about him, he was able to forgive her and prove himself as the better person.

In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, one character proves himself to be particularly heroic. This character, Atticus Finch, defends a black man, he forgives a bitter old woman, and he hides perhaps one of the most amazing talents in the world. Atticus is a hero because he is not afraid, he does what’s right, and doesn’t second think it.





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