To Kill a Mockingbird Important Characters

Scout Finch

Scout is the narrator of The Kill a Mockingbird. Though the novel perspective gives insight to Scout as a child, it is actually told by an adult Scout who is able to reflect on the events she witnessed. Scout is six years old when the novel begins and nearly nine when the novel ends. She is a tomboyish girl with a hot-temper, likely to beat up anyone-even boys-if they offend her, especially when it comes to Atticus. Throughout the novel, Scout learns about an important lesson that her father tells her initially: the idea that sometimes you have to put yourself in another person's shoes. The novel centers largely around Scout's growing up.

Jem Finch

Jem is Scout's older brother and, at the start of the novel, Jem is ten years old. The novel shows his development as he grows up as well. At first, Jem is Scout's "partner in crime." However, as he reaches adolescence first, he begins to identify himself more with the grownup world. Instead of childhood pranks and games, he becomes more interested in the trial and football. He clearly looks up to Atticus because, at one point early in the novel, he proclaims that Atticus is a "gentleman" just like him. As he grows up, Jem seems keenly aware of the injustices of Maycomb, especially in regards to the trial.

Atticus Finch

A lawyer and a representative to the state legislature, Atticus is all too aware of the limitations and narrow-minded nature of his community. Atticus is the most moralistic character in the novel. He chooses to represent Tom Robinson even though he is keenly aware of the fact that his chances of winning are slim. He serves as a positive role model for his children throughout the novel, encouraging them to try and see things from other people's perspectives and never to harm someone who has never harmed you. When he defends Tom Robinson, even though the trial brings out the worst in the town, Atticus still believes in the good of his community. Perhaps Atticus's only flaw is that he believes too strongly in the good of people, to the point where he never suspects that Bob Ewell would actually come after him.

Charles Baker "Dill" Harris

Dill lives next door to Scout and Jem during the summers when he visits his Aunt Rachel. Dill quickly becomes friends with Scout and Jem and, in particular, urges them forward in their fascination with Boo Radley. Dill is very much a symbol of the innocence and carefree days of their childhood. His presence in the first part of the novel is a stark contrast to the much darker second half of the novel.

Aunt Alexandra Finch

Aunt Alexandra is Atticus's sister. She comes to live with the Finch family in the second part of the novel, and she is everything that Atticus is not. Always opinionated, she chides Atticus for the way he raises his children and for taking on Tom Robinson's trial. Scout hates her because Aunt Alexandra is the quintessential Southern woman, and she expects Scout to behave the same way.

Miss Maudie Atkinson

Miss Maudie is a neighbor of the Finch's. Her views align nearly perfectly with those of Atticus. Often, she serves as a sounding board for Scout, who asks her questions about the town, her father, and the trial.

Calpurnia

Calpurnia is the cook for the Finch family. Because Scout and Jem's mother is no longer living, Calpurnia serves as much more than a cook, and she has helped raise the children. She also serves as a window into the black community of Maycomb when she takes the children with her to church one Sunday.

Boo Radley

Boo is a neighbor to the Finches, and there are many rumors that circulate Maycomb about why he never leaves him home. Early in the novel, this phantom-like man becomes an obsession for Scout, Jem, and Dill. However, as the novel goes on, his goodness is revealed: he leaves presents for the children, gives Scout a blanket on a cold night, and even saves the children from Bob Ewell's attack. By the end of the novel, he has also taught Scout a valuable lesson about walking in another person's shoes.

Bob Ewell

Bob Ewell is the head of the Ewell family, a notoriously poor, dirty, and uneducated family. Ewell is by far the most detestable character in the book, as he abuses his daughter, gets an innocent man persecuted and killed, and even attack's the Finch children. As a father, he is a stark contrast to the moralistic and caring Atticus Finch.

Mayella Ewell

Mayella Ewell is the one ray of sunshine in the Ewell family. However, she is clearly a victim of her father's control. She reaches out to Tom Robinson for the simple fact that she is lonely; however, she turns against him in the trial no doubt out of fear for what her father might do to her. Though her actions are despicable, the reader cannot help but feel sympathy for her terrible situation.

Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson is the black man who is charged with raping Mayella Ewell. The reader will easily believe that he is innocent, as he has no use of his left hand and clearly could have not raped Mayella. He seems to be a very decent individual, not scorning Mayella or the Ewells even despite what they have done to him.

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