Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I FIRST met Atticus Finch when I was in my teens, and he did for me what any father should ... what my own father actually did. He taught me to be a person.
Obviously, we are shaped by many forces throughout our lives, but Atticus has cast a long and beloved shadow over mine till today, and he means more to me than I can properly articulate.
Over generations he has taught compassion and empathy for everyone – from a black man wrongly accused to a reclusive and bullied neighbour to a crotchety old lady determined to die “beholden to nothing and nobody”.
But his most valuable lesson has always been to fight for what is right, even when you know you might lose the battle; to have the courage to stand alone out on that limb. We have to keep the larger war in sight – like Atticus, as long as we fight the good fight, we will win.
Gregory Peck is ‘perfect dad’ Atticus Finch and Mary Badham is Scout Finch in the 1962 film version of To Kill A Mockingbird. — Movie still