Characters and themes are often closely linked in a novel. Explain how an important character in the novel you have studied helped the writer convey one or more of their themes. (2012 novel essay question)
The novel “To kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is set in the small community of Maycomb in the southern states of America in the 1930s. In this town of racial prejudice, narrow-mindedness and class distinction, Atticus Finch, a lawyer, stands out as a man of integrity and courage. This is demonstrated when he defends Tom Robinson, protects the community and attempts to bring up his children alone.
Bringing up children alone is a difficult task. Atticus was courageous in the way he brought up his children and being a lawyer at the same time. His wife had died when the children were very young. Atticus was a well-respected lawyer in the Maycomb community and so he was often absent from his children’s life. He taught them values and treated them the way he believed was right: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”. His children learned a sense of social injustice and fairness from their father. However it was not easy for Atticus because he was often criticised for his approach on bringing up the children by his own family members, especially Aunt Alexandra: "I can't say I approve of everything he does, Maudie, but he's my brother, and I just want to know when this will ever end.” Therefore, the way Atticus brings up his children on his own and with all the criticism showed courage.
The incident with the mad dog demonstrates Atticus’s courage and symbolizes the town’s dependence upon his protection from both the mad dog and the worst evil within themselves. The dog is a danger to the community as it had lost all senses and actions. Heck brings a rifle and asks Atticus to shoot the animal. There is no room for such dangers and destructive forces in this...