In a work of fiction writer uses different characters to evolve a story and convey his idea through their personality. Most characters in To Kill a Mockingbird are based on real life. The important characters in this book express Harper Lee’s views of morality, social equality, and racial prejudices. In metaphorical forms, the characters in this novel are the embodiment past and present social norms. Some of the major characters have been discussed below.
Characters in To Kill a Mockingbird
Scout is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. She is a tomboyish girl portrayed as hot-tempered ready to start a dispute when somebody offends her. Her father, Atticus, has nurtured her in a way that even as a child she never bogs herself down in social hypocrisies. In the beginning, she is the symbol of innocence and purity with no experience of worldly evil. She encounters her first experience of evil in the form of racial prejudice. The development of her character surrounds by the question whether she would rise from that challenging situation or be forced to hide herself like Boo Radley or Tom. She perceives people as individuals and does not judge them according to their skin color. Throughout the novel, she learns valuable lessons that humans are the blend of good and evil and that evil can be lessened with the tenderness of heart.
Atticus is the father of Scout and Jim. He is represented as a good-hearted man with strong morals and faces problems in his profession, family, and society. He not only seeks goodness in others but also teaches his children to follow his principles and to be morally conscious. Because of his calm behavior and intelligence, Maycomb residents hold immense respect for him. He is the man of his words as he defends Tom Robinson until the end because he believes that Tom is accused because of the color of his skin. He stands committed to justice till the end.
Jem is Scout’s older brother and Atticus’s son. We learn in the beginning that he possesses some simple desires like playing football and be outside. However, the novel develops, he grows into a young man who is not only serious but also idealistic and sensitive. Just like his father, he is also the epitome of morality and intelligence. Jem is four years older than Scout. He has a strong sense of understanding of the events in Maycomb. By the end of the novel, he learns the positive lessons which his father has taught him.
Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley
He is portrayed as one of the novel’s mockingbirds, a good person misunderstood and wounded by the evil of humanity. Many rumors are circulating about him as he cuts himself off from the society. At first, he seems to be a mysterious figure who never steps out of his door. However, following the trial of Tom Robinson, the public opinion about Boo changes as well. Although he is indifferent in many ways, he loves Jem and Scout. He leaves gifts for them and saves them from the fire. The situation of Boo represents the miserable plight of those who face injustice and separate themselves from the world.
Dill is a curious child who questions everything. He also questions some of the ways of Maycomb such as bias and prejudice of the court system. Dill is an imaginative and sensitive character who successfully hides his pain. He exercises his expertise when he lies about the greatness of his father whom he barely knows. His goal throughout the novel is to get Boo out of his house.
Miss Maudie Atkinson
She is Finch’s neighbor and an old widow. She remains busy in her yard working on her garden and also shows tenderness towards kids. She is indifferent in her behavior with the people. However, she finds solace and comfort in her garden. She is an optimistic human being, who always trusts that good acts will always be rewarded. Her optimism shines when she plans to have more space for the garden when her house burns out.
She is the caretaker, cook, and housekeeper of Atticus children, Jem and Scout. She acts as a substitute for their mother. She makes positive efforts to teach them morals and values. Her kindness shines when an infectious dog comes into the neighborhood. She ensures that everybody comes to know it. According to Scout, she is leading a double life; when she is in the company of other black people, she changes her style and acts like them. Unlike Atticus, she teaches Jem and Scout the lesson of understanding others. Calpurnia’s character in the novel demonstrates the theme of “understanding people who are different.”
He is depicted as a hardworking, honest and skillful man. Through Tom’s character, Harper highlights the major theme of racism. During Tom’s trial, the society’s common prejudices are exposed. Tom’s accusation proves that people before the civil war era were judged by the color of their skin and not by their actions. Tom is the victim of racial injustice, and without proof, he is accused of assaulting and raping Mayella Ewell. He strives to prove his innocence, but because of the color of his skin, his pleadings for innocence get rejected.
She is a perfect example of how cruel human beings could be. Myella Ewell exploits her advantage of being a white and accuses Tom of raping her. After this, the people of Maycomb turns against Tom. She has no witness except her drunk father, who beats her and pushes the blame on Tom. She has no proof except her superior status. In fact, she represents the opportunistic human nature.
She is the sister of Atticus and aunt of Jem and Scout. She is a kind of woman who judges Jem and Scout on the yardstick of social standards. She is against Tomboy’s appearance of Scout and often shows resentment when Calpurnia tries to educate the children. Despite her nature of belittling other class, she is projected as a kind lady who takes good care of the children.