Lettre sur les aveugles à l'usage de ceux qui voient

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Denis Diderot

Because of his occupation and his prominence in society, Atticus is in a much better financial position than many of the people in Maycomb, even in the midst of the Great Depression. He is wise and calm, and his intelligence is far higher than most of the people in town. His behavior is also above reproach, and everyone respects him. When people are in trouble, or they have doubts about something, they turn to Atticus. However, his admirable strength of character causes friction with the townspeople when he agrees to defend Tom Robinson. He does not share the same prejudice against race as most of the white people in town, and believes that everyone should be judged on their merits, not the color of their skin. Even though he is looked down upon during the trial, it does not last long. When the trial has been concluded, he is the object of admiration once again.

The understanding and the sympathetic attitude he uses to teach Jem and Scout goes a long way toward shaping his children. Atticus also sees that there is much to appreciate about the people who live in Maycomb, even though they are very indifferent to issues such as racial profiling and prejudice. He sees the good, and enjoys it. While he does not overlook the bad, he does practice forgiveness for townspeople who make poor decisions when it comes to how they treat others. Many see Atticus as a hero, but he is not idolized by his children in that same way. He is older than most of the other fathers of young children, and that makes Jem and Scout uncomfortable. Still, they love their father unconditionally. The way they see their father (but not their love for him) does change throughout the book, but Atticus is always consistent in the way he feels, what he believes, and what he does. Justice matters to him, and he never tries to hide the importance of it in his life.

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