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Wise mentors are essential to any successful people, and a mentor’s touch can guide a life. In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch represents this wise mentor. Maycomb, Alabama is a town greatly impacted through Atticus Finch’s compassion, leadership, and wisdom, which is imparted on his children and fellow Maycomb residents.
Atticus Finch’s compassion is on display during the Tom Robinson affair and throughout the novel. When Tom is about to go on trial and Atticus is getting heavily criticized for defending him, Atticus says that, “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.
' (Lee 87) Atticus’ compassion is on display here through his determination to see justice served and to help another human being out. Also, Atticus’ defense of Tom is not winning him many friends, but he focuses on the fact that he can save an innocent man from the electric chair.
Furthermore, after the trial is lost, he is recognized for this compassionate act by all the Negro citizens of Maycomb, who deliver food in honor of his kindness. Even though many white people thought that Atticus was crazy for defending Tom, the good Negro people see an act of kindness out of the heart. In addition, after Tom is shot escaping because he was “tired of white man’s chances and preferred to take his own,” (Lee 269) Atticus goes out and spends hours consoling Helen Robinson. Atticus understands death after having his own wife die, and uses that experience to help Helen through Tom’s death.
While Atticus’ small acts of kindness may go unnoticed on a large scale, they make a large impact on their lucky recipients.
When Atticus steps up in his home to lead by himself after his wife’s passing, he learns valuable skills that help him raise his children right and make a difference in the community. After Scout comes home rearing to fight a boy at school, Atticus steadily guides her out of it, saying, 'You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don't you let 'em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change.'(Lee 86) Even though being constantly ridiculed cannot feel good on Atticus’ part, he leads his daughter to be proud of him and keep away from fights. While fighting seems like a temporary solution, Mr. Finch focuses on the long term by steering his daughter out of trouble. Mr. Finch also shows leadership when Dill shows up after running away with his cool head and apt handling of the situation. Instead of freaking out and sending Dill home, he reacts with a fatherly touch and even jokes around with it, saying, “And for goodness’ sake put some of the county back where it belongs, the soil erosion’s bad enough as it is.” This puts Dill at ease and solves a potentially combustible situation. The leadership of Atticus pushes those around him to be better as well.
Years of wisdom and learning are on display in Atticus’ dealings with family and neighbors. After Jem and Scout have to read to Mrs. Dubose, Atticus justifies it by saying, 'I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.' (Lee 128) He imparts on them the fact that even though Mrs. Dubose is a grouchy old lady who they may view as mean, she is really a very courageous person for breaking the morphine addiction. He quells their childish ideas of “courage” and instead gifts them with a small wisdom that they will remember their whole lives. Atticus uses what he has learned from his own experiences to make sure others don’t make the same mistakes and to enlighten them as to life’s general truths. He talks with Jem about becoming a man and with Scout about eventually becoming a lady. And when they are disappointed after a loss in the trial, he says, “It’s not time to worry yet,” (Lee 243) which simply reassures Jem. Through the thick and thin, Atticus is always there with a small saying to help.
Atticus Finch, a humble, God-fearing man, is full of Biblical virtues, which he uses to make those around him better. These virtues, especially leadership, wisdom, and compassion, help him eventually become a revered figure in Maycomb. This lines up with the CBT “The words and actions of a man reveal the true nature of his heart,” and Atticus’ words and actions reveal a good heart.
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