September 4, 2014
Atticus Finch - Scout and Jem’s father, a lawyer in Maycomb descended from an old local family. A widower with a dry sense of humor, Atticus has instilled in his children his strong sense of morality and justice. He is one of the few residents of Maycomb committed to racial equality. When he agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man charged with raping a white woman, he exposes himself and his family to the anger of the white community. With his strongly held convictions, wisdom, and empathy, Atticus functions as the novel’s moral backbone.
"You aren't really a nigger-lover, then, are you?"
Bob Ewell - A drunken, mostly unemployed member of Maycomb’s poorest family. In his knowingly wrongful accusation that Tom Robinson raped his daughter, Ewell represents the dark side of the South: ignorance, poverty, squalor, and hate-filled racial prejudice.
"the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations"
Calpurnia Calpurnia "Cal"
Calpurnia is the Finch family's housekeeper, whom the children love and Atticus deeply respects (he remarks in her defense that she "never indulged [the children] like most colored nurses"). She is highly regarded by Atticus. She is an important figure in Scout's life, providing discipline, instruction, and love. She also fills the maternal role for the children after their mother's death. Calpurnia is one of the few black characters in the novel who is able to read and write, and it is she who taught Scout to write. She learned how to read from Miss Maudie's aunt, Miss Buford, who taught her how to read out of "Blackstone's Commentaries", a book given to her.
While everyone in the novel is filtered through Scout’s perception, Calpurnia in particular appears for a long time more as Scout’s idea of her than as a real person. At the beginning of the novel, Scout appears to think of Calpurnia as the wicked stepmother to Scout’s own Cinderella. However, towards the end of the book, Scout views Calpurnia as someone she can look up to and realizes Calpurnia has only protected her over the years. She is played by Estelle Evans in the movie.
"Suppose you and Scout talked colored-folks' talk at home it'd be out of place, wouldn't it? Now what if I talked white-folks' talk at church, and with my neighbors? They'd think I was puttin' on airs to beat Moses. "
Charles Baker "Dill" Harris is Jem and Scout's best friend who visits Maycomb every summer from Meridian, Mississippi, and stays with his aunt Rachel. His goal throughout the novel is to get Boo Radley to come out of his house, and for the first few summers the children concoct many plans to lure him out, until Atticus stops them. Dill promises to marry Scout, and they become "engaged". One night Dill runs away from his home in the city, because he feels like he is being replaced in the family by his stepfather. He gets on a train and goes to Maycomb County, then hides under Scout's bed until she finds him. He tells them that he was chained to a wall in his fathers basement to start with, but tells them his reality later.
Unlike Scout and Jem, Dill lacks the security of family love. He is unwanted and unloved by his mother and stepfather: "They do get on a lot better without me, I cannot help them any." As Francis, another Finch from the novel, says, "He hasn't got a home, he just gets passed around from relative to relative." Dill is described as not having a father; he doesn't know where he lives or when he'll come back, if he does. He is played by John Megna in the movie.
"Thus we came to know Dill as a pocket Merlin, whose head teemed with eccentric plans, strange longings, and,quaint fancies"
Ewell Mayella Violet
Mayella Violet Ewell is Tom Robinson's 19-and-a-half-year-old accuser and the eldest daughter of Bob Ewell; she has to take care of her siblings (such as Burris Ewell) due to Bob Ewell's alcoholism. In the book…