For Atticus Finch, most things are "as simple as black and white." In the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, there is one character who is able to make an impact on his children and both types of society. Atticus is a single parent who tries very hard to make everybody he interacts with satisfied. Atticus Finch has a strong impact on the people around him: his children, the black community, and the white community. Atticus makes a huge difference on the way his children live their lives. One way Atticus makes an impact on his kid's lives, especially Scout, is by teaching her how to read and by building her already advanced vocabulary. It is obvious to Scout's teacher, Miss Caroline, that Scout is able to read very well.
Scout is asked by Miss Caroline to read a few passages one day in class, "after making me read most of My First Reader and the stock-market quotations from The Mobile Register aloud, she discovered that I was literate" (21). Miss Caroline is very impressed that a 7 year old is able to read such literacy as stock market quotes from a newspaper. Scout was taught to read at such a young age by her loving father. Almost every night, Scout sits down with her dad and reads with him. For a 7 or 8 year old she has an impressive vocabulary and reading comprehension. The fact that Atticus has the time to sit down with his daughter and take time to read to her is very admirable.
Being a lawyer, and a well-educated man, Atticus is well aware of the importance to be literate. Atticus teaches his children a moral by showing them how Mrs. Dubose has "real courage." After Mrs. Dubose passes away, Atticus has a talk with Scout and Jem about the meaning of true courage, "I wanted you to see what real courage is... it's when you know you " re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what" (116). Atticus makes Jem and Scout realize that courage is not a tough guy with a gun in his hand.
What he wants them to know is that courage is when you know you are beat, yet you persevere anyway. Atticus is making sure that his kids do not have the wrong impression of what is courage. Atticus, in a very subtle way, shows, not tells, Jem and Scout how their father is courageous. He refers to courage as knowing when you have lost before you even begin. His definition of courage is exactly how he deals with his almost impossible Tom Robinson case. The best thing that Atticus does for his children is making them one of the few white people in May comb who isn't prejudice.
Atticus makes it clear that he is not racist towards black people. In doing so, he also has a conversation with his daughter about how racist people are very appalling. One day after visiting Mrs. Dubose, Scout asks Atticus if he loves black people, "You aren't really a nigger lover then, are you?" asks Scout "I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody", responds Atticus (113). Because there are so many people accusing Atticus of being a "nigger lover", Scout decides to ask her dad if he really is.
Atticus responds by saying that he is a "nigger lover", and proud of it. Atticus tries his best to love everybody, and by him doing so, he teaches his children that they must do their best to love everybody as well. Throughout the story, Atticus teaches them different morals. He tells them when to do the proper thing at the right time. He has them do special deeds for different people. By making his kids well mannered and well educated, Atticus drastically improves their lives.
Atticus makes numerous impacts on the black people and their lifestyles as well. The black community is so thankful to Atticus for doing such a great job of defending Tom; they give him an abundant amount of food. The morning after the verdict of the Tom Robinson case, the whole Finch family is feeling bitter. As soon as they come into the kitchen for breakfast, they are welcomed with a pleasant surprise. "The kitchen table was loaded with enough food to bury the family: hunks of salt pork, tomatoes, beans, even scuppernongs" (216). By bringing Atticus such an enormous amount of food, the black community shows him how much they appreciated his effort to prove Tom innocent.
Clearly, they had never seen anyone defended as well as Tom had been. The black people must have looked beyond the hard times and their shortage of supplies, because the food that Atticus received was rather expensive. Atticus really made an impact on their lives in order for them to gratify him to such a great extent. Atticus also makes a difference with the black community by hiring and giving love to a black caretaker.
Calpurnia, the caretaker is not only a maid, but also a part of the family. Atticus knows that without Calpurnia, their family would be different from how it currently is, and he knows that she helps with everyday chores. Atticus even stands up to his own sister defending Calpurnia and her position in the family, "Calpurnia's not leaving this house... the kids love her... she's more than a mother to them," is what Atticus tells his sister (139).
Atticus shows how Christian and loving he is by hiring Calpurnia as a caretaker. Being black, Calpurnia is disliked by most of the white community. Atticus treats her very well, almost as if she was a daughter to him. Atticus's sister tells him that Calpurnia has to leave their household, yet he is completely against firing her. By taking Calpurnia into his arms, Atticus not only shows how much of a loving person he is, but he gives hope to the black community. Another way Atticus makes a change on the black community is by giving them hope that some day there will be racial equality in the world.
He does this by saying incredibly strong proclamations in his closing statement in his case with Tom Robinson. He addresses the jury by telling them that all men are created equal, and he makes key points such as this, "You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women - black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men" (207). Atticus makes such influential and accurate statements throughout his closing statement, that it is easy to guess that even most of the white people agree with him. Some of the most powerful passages in the book are presented in Atticus' closing statement. With his speech, he makes people of all races realize the importance of love.
By giving such a powerful closing statement to the jury, the black people appreciate Atticus' will to end racism. In more than one way, Atticus gives hope to the black people that one day there will be no segregation against other races. Believe it or not, by giving the black community hope, Atticus helps the white community see the light to racial peace. Atticus makes modifications in the white community as well, even though many disagree with his beliefs. Atticus is so understanding of the hard times, that he will accept any sort of payment for his service as a lawyer. For instance, he allows the Cunninghams to pay with their crops that they are currently growing.
He will accept payments such as baskets of fruits and vegetables. Scout explains her father's sympathy with this statement, "As the Cunninghams had no money to pay a lawyer, they simply paid us with what they had" (26). Because the Cunninghams are so poor, and everyone is living in such hard times, Atticus allows them to pay whenever they are able to, with whatever they have. Atticus also realizes that he himself is poor. By Atticus standing in other people's shoes, he understands what they are going through.
Atticus makes it easier on the Cunninghams by being so lenient with them, and relieves lots of stress from their already hectic life. The biggest impact Atticus makes on the white community is by doing such a good job of defending Tom. By Atticus doing so well, he keeps the jury out for a very long time - which in return, gives the idea to the white people that the black community are beginning to get recognized more in their society. Jem is told by Miss Maudie, a white woman, that she believes there will soon be little racial segregation, "we " re making a step - it's just a baby-step, but it's a step" (218-219). Miss Maudie is referring to how their society, as a whole, is making small steps to reach peace between races. Atticus' defense was so good that he stumped the jury on what to decide for their final verdict.
Ultimately, Atticus' defense helped the white community realize the importance of racial equality. Atticus is able to make people realize their true emotions. For instance, he makes a change in the hearts of the white men that were in the mob, which was after Tom Robinson. Atticus, with a little help from Scout, was able to transform the mob from a violent group of creeps into a sensible group of men.
With full force, the mob intended to harm Tom, but after some sense was knocked into them, they left the scene without any violence, "Let's clear out... let's get going boys" (156-157). By making the mob feel human, Atticus and Scout were able to prevent them from causing any harm. When the mob arrived, their goal was to harm Tom. With some reasoning from Atticus and Scout, the mob's hearts were filled with a bit more love.
In this novel, there are many influential characters that make choices that alter the lives of other people. Some characters alter lives in positive ways and some characters change lives in bad ways. Atticus Finch is the most important person in this novel. Through different events, Atticus shows how he is able to make such a deep impact on somebody's life. Atticus is able to help both the white and black communities by leading the way to racial equality.
He raises his children to be both people smart and book smart. Hopefully, this essay will give a bit of an idea of how hard times were back when this story took place. Atticus is a very busy man: he has a fulltime job being a lawyer, he has to take care of his children, and he has to attend to the white and black communities. Atticus makes an impact on his children's lives, the black people's lives, and the white people's lives..