To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

May 31, 2011
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In To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch is portrayed as the perfect father. Why wouldn't he he be? After all, Atticus is kind, fair, and undiscriminating Everything that makes a perfect father, right? Wrong! Atticus is anything but a perfect father. That's not to say he isn't a great man. I just think he's too focused on being a “great man” to really be able to focus on being a great father. I don't doubt he loves Scout and Jem very much, but he just doesn't show it very much. Atticus is always to busy working to have time to do anything with the children. Atticus forces his viewpoints on to his children. Worst of all, Atticus tries to get Jem tried for murder. I fail to see how Atticus is portrayed as the perfect father.

Atticus is always too busy to spend anytime with his children. He pays Jem to take Scout to her first day of school, even though Scout is nervous about her first day and Jem really doesn't care very much. Atticus always working. He has Calpurnia and Aunt Alexandra take care of Jem and Scout even though they, especially Aunt Alexandra, don't really understand Scout. Jem and Scout worship their father and always want to spend time with him, but he is always too busy. And if he's not too busy, he's too old. He can't teach Jem to play football because he is “too old.” That makes me wonder if he's really too busy or old, or if he's simply making up reasons not to have to spend time with his children.

Atticus tries to force his views on his children. He goes around being all moral and self-important and tries to force his children to think the same as him. That's doesn't by any means mean he's not absolutely right in his views. I just don't think its right to try and force a child to think something. And with a lot of children that's not even effective. When children feel neglected or smothered by their parents, they tend to lash out and go against everything their parents have told them. It is better to let children observe the world around them. If Jem and Scout have the morals that I know they do, they will come to the same conclusion as Atticus.

However, I think the worst thing Atticus has done is try and get Jem tried for murder. First, Atticus is completely convinced Jem did it. He won't take no for an answer. It's like he wants Jem to be guilty. So he can prove some point like “I'm so moral. I won't even let my own son get away with killing someone who was trying to kill him and his sister.” And even if he wasn't doing this for himself, Jem is his son! Isn't your child supposed to come before anything else. You've got to back your kids. Parents are supposed to be the ones children count on. And if Atticus was really doing it for Jem like he claimed, he would let Jem choose for himself. And even if Jem would have chosen it for himself, which he might in fact have done so, he will always resent Atticus for not giving him the choice. He also tries to get Scout to give evidence against Jem. If Jem got put in jail for this or got any punishment for it, Scout would probably never forgive herself. I know I would never forgive my father if he did that to me.

As many people as they want can try to convince me Atticus is a great father, but they will never get me to agree. Although I do agree Atticus is a great man, I don't think he was ready to raise children. Atticus really needs to get his priorities in check before his warped views mess with Jem and Scout anymore.

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dolphinportkey7 said...
Jun. 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm
Hm. You raise some really intriguing and brilliant points, not all of which I agree with, but you still deserve the Five-stars for gathering your evidence and showing your ideas skillfully. I'm not sure if Atticus ever really "forces" his ideas upon anyone, though. Rather, it seems like he wants to expose the children to ideas that they wouldn't have otherwise received. I mean, if the children were left to simply observe the world around them, all they would see is racism and intolerance, so may... (more »)
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