is a well known attorney in Maycomb and the father of the protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout, and her brother Jem. He is a wise and caring father throughout the novel. His children call him "Atticus" rather than "Dad," and he was originally known as "One-Shot Finch" because of his skill with the rifle (demonstrated when killing a rabid dog). Atticus' belief in equality leads him to defend Tom Robinson, a black man, from biased charges of assault. Throughout the book, though his character does not evolve much, his relationship with his children does change. Originally they are slightly embarrassed by him because he does not act like their friends' fathers, but through his shooting of the dog and choice to defend Tom, they eventually gain respect for him. Atticus' attitude changes throughout the story as he realises how he can start to influence his children's views. With the help of their nanny, Calpurnia, Atticus helps the children by making sure they understand that black people are good as well, and not everyone should always favour the white men. is the narrator and protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel is written from the point of view of an adult Scout describing how she viewed things as a child, and she often comments about how she didn't understand something at the time, but now, having grown up, she does. Scout is considered smart for her age, and loves to read. In fact, she gets in trouble with her teacher Ms. Caroline because Ms. Caroline wants Scout to learn reading and writing her way, but Scout refuses. She is also a tomboy who spends the majority of her time with her brother and best friend Dill. She matures from age 6 to age 8 as the novel progresses but still remains naive and idealistic, despite an increased understanding of human nature and racism in her town. Being only six, Scout does not know how to handle such situations so she tries to resolve her problems by fighting and talking to Atticus about what she has heard. By the end of the book, she realizes that racism does exist and has come to terms with its presence in her town. Scout also learns how to deal with others, including her nanny Calpurnia and her aunt. Scout is the only one of the novel's primary three children (Dill, Jem, and herself) to see and speak to Boo Radley during the course of the novel and realizes that he is harmless, despite her earlier fear of him. She also stops a mob that is trying to hang Tom Robinson by informing the mob leader (Mr. Cunningham) about inviting his son over for dinner. Mr. Cunningham then tells the other mob members to get back in their cars and leave them alone. The members listen, and Scout unintentionally saves Robinson's life. Jem and Scout's best friend who visits Maycomb every summer and stays with his aunt Miss Rachel. His goal throughout the novel is to get Boo Radley to come out of his house, and for the first few summers the children concoct many plans to lure him out, until Atticus stops them. Dill promises to marry Scout, and they become "engaged". One night Dill runs away from his home in the city, because he feels like he is being replaced in the family by his stepfather. He gets on a train and goes to Maycomb County, then hides under Scout's bed until she finds him.
Unlike Scout and Jem, Dill lacks the security of family love. He is unwanted and unloved by his parents: "They do get on a lot better without me, I cannot help them any." As Francis, another Finch from the novel, says, "He hasn't got a home, he just gets passed around from relative to relative." Dill is described as not having a father; he doesn't know where he lives or when he'll come back, if he does.
is the Finch family's housekeeper, whom the children love and Atticus deeply respects (he remarks in her defense that she "never indulged [the children] like most colored nurses"). She is an important figure in Scout's life and provides discipline, instruction, and love. She also fills the maternal role for them after their mother's death. Calpurnia is one of the few black characters in the novel who is able to read and write, and it is she who taught Scout to write. She learned how to read from Miss Maudie's aunt, Miss Buford, who taught her how to read out of "Blackstone's Commentaries", a book given to her by Jem & Scout's grandfather (Atticus' father).
Living in Maycomb's African American and Caucasian communities, Calpurnia has two different perspectives on life, and Scout notices that she speaks and acts differently among her black friends than at their home.
While everyone in the novel is filtered through Scout's perception, Calpurnia in particular appears for a long time more as Scout's idea of her than as a real person. At the beginning of the novel, Scout appears to think of Calpurnia as the wicked stepmother to Scout's own Cinderella. However, towards the end of the book, Scout views Calpurnia as someone she can look up to and realizes Calpurnia has only protected her over the years
is the most mysterious character in To Kill a Mockingbird, and slowly reveals himself throughout the novel. Boo Radley is a very quiet, reclusive character, who only passively presents himself until the children's final interaction with Bob Ewell. Maycomb children believe that he is a horrible person, due to the rumors spread about him, and a trial he underwent as a teenager. It is implied during the story that Boo is a very lonely man who attempts to reach out to the children for love and friendship, for instance by leaving them small gifts and figures in a tree stump. However, none of the children realize it was he until the very end of the book, when he saves Jem and Scout's lives. It is at this point that Scout finally meets him, the first time in the book. Scout describes him as being sickly white, with a thin mouth and hair and grey eyes, almost as if he was blind. During the same night, when Boo requests that Scout walk him back to the Radley house, Scout takes a moment to picture what it would be like to be Boo Radley, while standing on his porch, and realizes that his "exile" inside his house is really not that lonely.
Boo Radley's heroics in protecting the children from Bob Ewell are covered up by Atticus, Sheriff Tate and Scout. This can be read as a wise refusal of fame. As Tate notes, if word gets out that Boo killed Ewell, Boo would be inundated with gifts and visits, something that would be calamitous for him due to his quiet personality. The precocious Scout recognizes the danger. Renown would "kill the mockingbird." Boo Radley is a ghost that haunts the book yet manifests himself at just the right moments in just the right way. He is, arguably, the most potent character in the whole book and as such, inspires the other key characters to save him when he needs saving.
After the Tom Robinson trial, Jem and Scout start to have a different understanding of Boo Radley. "Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time... it's because he wants to stay inside." (23.117)
Having seen a sample of the horrible things their fellow townspeople can do, choosing to stay out of the mess of humanity doesn't seem like such a strange choice.
When Boo finally does come out, he has a good reason: Bob Ewell is trying to murder the Finch kids. No one sees what happens in the scuffle, but at the end of it, Ewell is dead and Boo is carrying an unconscious Jem to the Finch house. Finally faced with Boo, Scout doesn't even recognize him: after all, she's never seen him before, except in her dreams.
lived across the street from the Finch family. She had known the Finches for many years, having been brought up on the Buford place, which was near the Finch's ancestral home, Finch's Landing. She is described as a woman of about 40 who enjoys baking and gardening; her cakes are especially held in high regard. However, she is frequently harassed by devout "Foot-Washing Baptists", who tell her that her enjoyment of gardening is a sin. Miss Maudie befriends Scout and Jem and tells them stories about Atticus as a boy. Also, she is one of the few adults that Jem and Scout hold in high regard and respect. She does not act condescendingly towards them, even though they are young children. During the course of the novel, her house burns down; however, she shows remarkable courage throughout this (even joking that she wanted to burn it down herself to make more room for her flowers). She is not prejudiced, unlike many of her Southern neighbors, and teaches Scout important lessons about racism and human nature. It is important to note that Miss Maudie fully explains that "it is a sin to kill a mockingbird", whereas Atticus Finch initially brings up the subject, but doesn't go into depth. When Jem gets older, and doesn't want to be bothered by Scout, Miss Maudie keeps her from going mad. is the main antagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird. He has a daughter named Mayella, and a younger son named Burris, as well as six other unnamed children. He is an alcoholic who poaches game to feed his family, because he spends whatever money they legally gain (via "relief checks" from the government) on alcohol. He accuses Tom Robinson of raping his daughter and eventually has him thrown in jail, where Tom is subsequently killed while trying to escape. Though everyone in the town knows the Ewells are not to be trusted, it is made clear to the jury that Tom Robinson is to be convicted because he is black, and not because of Bob or Mayella's testimony. Upon hearing about Tom's death, Bob is absolutely gleeful, gloating about his success. After being humiliated at the trial, however, he goes on a murderous rampage for revenge, becoming increasingly violent. He begins by spitting in Atticus' face, followed by a failed attempt to break into Judge Taylor's house, and finally menacing Tom's widow. He then attempts to murder Jem and Scout Finch with a knife to complete his revenge. However, Boo Radley saves Jem and Scout and kills Bob. Heck Tate, the sheriff, then puts in the official report that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife and died after lying on the street for 45 minutes. is Tom Robinson's 19-and-a-half-year-old accuser and the eldest daughter of Bob Ewell; she has to take care of her siblings (such as Burris Ewell) due to his alcoholism. Before the trial, Mayella is noted for growing red geraniums outside her otherwise dirty home. Due to her family's living situation, Mayella has no opportunity for human contact or love, and she eventually get so desperate that she attempts to seduce a black man, Tom Robinson. Through a window, her father sees this, and in punishment he beats her. Ewell then finds the sheriff, Heck Tate, and tells him that his daughter has been raped and beaten by Tom. At the trial, Atticus proves that it was her father who beat her by pointing out that the bruises are on the right side of her face only. This is important because Tom's left hand is mangled and useless, while Bob Ewell is left handed. When Atticus Finch asks her if she has any friends, she becomes confused because she does not know what a friend is. During her testimony, she is confused by Atticus' polite speech and thinks that his use of "Miss Mayella" is meant to mock her.
By testifying against Tom Robinson, Mayella is trying to destroy the evidence suggesting that she had attempted to seduce him, and to do what her father wants her to do so that he won't hurt her. To get rid of her own guilt and fear of breaking a 'rigid and time- honoured code'
is an elderly woman who lives near the Finch's. She is hated by the children, who run by her house to avoid her. Jem ravages Mrs. Dubose's camellias. As a punishment, Jem is forced to read to Mrs. Dubose each day for a month. Mrs. Dubose has a fit each time he reads- drooling, twitching, and more. When an alarm rings, Jem is allowed to leave. After a month and a week of reading, Jem is finally allowed to stop. Mrs. Dubose dies shortly thereafter. Atticus informs Jem that Mrs. Dubose had fallen victim to an addiction to morphine. By reading to her, Jem had distracted her so that she could conquer her addiction and die free from painkillers. In thanks, she leaves him a candy box with a camellia flower in it. Jem disposes of the box in anger, but is later seen by Scout admiring the flower. Atticus tells Jem that Mrs. Dubose was the bravest person he ever knew, and he was trying to teach Jem the importance of bravery and respect and the importance of true courage and endurance when the situation is hopeless, as in her morphine addiction. After Atticus explains why Mrs. Dubose sent him the flower, Jem learns to admire it. is Scout's first grade teacher and is new to Maycomb, Alabama and its ways. She attempts to teach the first grade class using a new system which she learned from taking certain college courses that Jem mistakenly refers to as the "Dewey Decimal System", (which is really how library books are organized.) She is upset that Scout is far more advanced in reading than the rest of her class, and doesn't like that she is receiving lessons from her father, Atticus. In an effort to standardize the class she forbids Scout from reading. Once again Atticus asks Scout to step into Ms. Caroline's skin, but continues to allow Scout to read with him at night so long as she continues to go to school. She has good intentions, but proves quite incompetent as a teacher. When Scout tells Miss Fisher that she shamed a student by giving him lunch money, she raps Scout's palms with a ruler (a punishment unheard of in Maycomb). She is also very sensitive and gets emotionally hurt quite easily, as seen when Burris Ewell yells at her, "Report and be damned to ye! Ain't no snot-nosed slut of a schoolteacher ever born c'n make me do nothin'! You ain't makin' me go nowhere, missus. You just remember that, you ain't makin' me go nowhere!" After the Burris Ewell incident, Miss Caroline is seldom seen and soon forgotten. is a son of Mr. Ewell and a younger sibling of Mayella Ewell as well as the first antagonist of the novel. Burris is described as being chiefly antagonistic of Little Chuck Little and his teacher Miss Caroline Fisher. He comes to the first day of school, but departs just as everyone else in his family does. He has live lice in his hair. Burris also scared his teacher Caroline Fisher and behaves rudely when she tells him to go home, wash his hair, and come back clean the next day, but he refuses, explaining to her that Ewell children don't attend school. All they do is show up for the first day, get marked down on the register, and then they miss the entire school year until the first day of the next year. She later finds out and is explained to more carefully by the children in the class as she weeps because of Burris's rude behavior. His famous quote was, "Report and be damned to ye! Ain't no snot-nosed slut of a schoolteacher ever born c'n make me do nothin'! You ain't makin' me go nowhere, missus. You just remember that, you ain't makin' me go nowhere!" As of Scout's first year of school (the first grade), Burris has repeated the first grade three times. is the founder of Finch's Landing. He is only brought up in the first chapter of the book. He is the ancestor of Atticus, Jem and Scout Finch. He is a Cornish Methodist apothecary, who was also a fur trader. He fled from religious persecution in England and sailed across the Atlantic to Philadelphia, and then Jamaica, before finally settling in Alabama. After returning to St. Stephens, where he was married, with one son, Welcome; and several daughters, he established the Finch homestead, Finch's Landing. He ended up dying rich, due to his medical practice.