It is never easy to stand up for something someone believes in, to face ones town and friends to fight for something even if one knows it is the right thing to do. It is never easy to have one’s own townspeople upset and bitter towards them, even if it is for a worthy cause. However, that is exactly what Atticus Finch did. He stood up and took the abuse from his friends, the town, and even his own family for someone he barely even knew, just because he thought it was right.
He was a hero.
In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus is portrayed as a brave character. For instance, when Tom Robinson was moved to the towns’ jail house, Atticus knew that there would be people coming for him. Atticus did not run and let Tom stand alone; he courageously goes and sits as a sort of guard outside of Toms’ cell. As Atticus expected, a group of men show up outside of Tom’s cell to hurt or possibly kill Tom. Atticus holds his ground and tells them to kindly leave. With a little help from Scout, Atticus’ mission was a success and Tom remained safe (202). While at the cell, Atticus could have very easily been hurt or seriously injured.
Nonetheless, he stands for what he knew was right and protects an innocent man. Another good example is when, instead of running, Atticus bravely walks to the middle of the street to face down a mad dog. He realized that if he missed, he could injure someone or the Radleys’ property. However, he walks to the middle of the road, accidentally drops and breaks his glasses, and still shoots the dog and kills it with one bullet (127). Atticus had quite the predicament in that situation. He was given the gun and told to shoot the dog because he was the only one with the accuracy to commit such an act. If he walks out there to shoot it, he could be attacked, if he doesn’t shoot it, everyone in the neighborhood could be attacked, if he shoots and misses, the
Radleys could be hurt. However, he goes out there and shoots it to save everyone. Bravery is a characteristic of heroism because without bravery, heroes could not do what they do. Sometimes, a hero must go against everyone else to do what is right, and it takes bravery to do that.
There is more than one reason why Atticus is a hero. On top of being extremely brave,
Atticus is also fair. When the men came onto the Finches yard to warn Atticus about the consequences of defending Tom Robinson and to tell him to stop, he replies, “Link, that boy might go to the chair, but he’s not going ‘till the truth’s told” (195). Atticus did not care about what the color of Tom Robinson’s skin was, nor did he care where Tom came from or who he was friends with. All he cared about was the fair treatment of Tom and he would do everything in his power to bring it. He ignored the warnings and defended Tom because he knew that it was the right thing to do. Another example is when Atticus was defending Tom in court and near the end he says, “But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an
Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court. It can be the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest J.P. court in the land, or this honorable court which you serve. Our courts have their fault, as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal”
(274). By saying this, Atticus was implying that all men are equal in the right of being human.
He is saying that the court should be fair to Tom