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Pantis 1Nicholas PantisMr. MacDonaldENG2D20 January 2018Trees Influence The ApplesThe apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. This saying is true in many cases and happens to be true in To Kill A Mockingbird. Throughout the book you see children start to grow up and act like their fathers. This essay will be looking at three families in To Kill A Mockingbird, the Finches, the Cunninghams, and the Ewells. These three families are key examples that a father’s influence has a significant impact on the character of his children.Atticus Finch is a morally upright person as he does not lie and treats everyone as equals. Atticus also teaches his kids a number of important lessons and tries to set a good example for them. In Chapter Three, of To Kill A Mockingbird Atticus shows that he cares about Scout’s feelings as he is quick to realize that something is bothering her. Scout tells Atticus about her bad day of school and he decides to teach her an important trick. Atticus says, “If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view” (Lee, 39). Atticus also continuously tells Scout and Jem to keep their cool and to act politely throughout the book. In Chapter Nine, Scout asks Atticus if he defends “niggers” Atticus explains to Scout that he will be defending a man named Tom Robinson and that he is African American. Atticus urges Scout to keep calm and to not get angry if anyone tries to provoke her. Atticus says, “You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down” (Lee, 101). Atticus also never lets an opportunity pass that he could use to expose his children to a positive experience or share some advice. In Chapter Eleven, Atticus makes Jem read to Mrs. Dubose as punishment for ruining Mrs. Dubose’s camellia bushes and at the end of Chapter Eleven, Mrs. Dubose passes away. Atticus tells Scout and Jem, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand” (Lee, 149). Atticus saw that he could expose his children to a positive experience by showing them what courage is. Atticus believes that Mrs. Dubose was a courageous woman as she suffered from a chronic illness, was addicted to morphine and was able to conquer her addiction before dying.Similar to Atticus, Walter Cunningham is a respectable man with integrity. His son, Walter Jr., shares his father’s moral character. In Chapter Two, Walter Cunningham Jr. refuses to accept a quarter from Miss Caroline for lunch as Cunninghams never take anything they cannot pay back, “The Cunninghams never took anything they can’t pay back—no church baskets, no scrip stamps. They never took anything off of anybody, they get along on what they have. They don’t have much, but they get along on it” (Lee, 26). Unlike Atticus the well-off lawyer, Walter Cunningham is a poor farmer who struggles to make it by with what he has. He needs his son Walter Jr. to help him run the farm, which makes Walter Jr. not focus on school. This is why Walter Jr. has been in first grade for three years. Walter Jr. tells Atticus, “Reason I can’t pass the first grade, Mr. Finch, is I’ve had to stay out ever’ spring an’ help Papa with the choppin'” (Lee, 32). Due to Walter Jr. working with his father he becomes a hard worker. Walter Jr. is able to get this skill as he as sees his father who is also a hard worker.Unlike Atticus and Walter Cunningham, Bob Ewell lacks honesty, character, and respect. He is viewed with disdain by the people of Maycomb as they have no money, no education and Bob’s an extremely bad alcoholic. His children Mayella and Burris, act similar to their father, Bob and both children lack any morality. In Chapter Three, Burris shows his negative attitude towards Miss Caroline, when she asks him to leave due to a “cootie” being in his hair. Scout is quick to explain Burris’ family background to Miss Caroline. Scout says, “Ain’t got no mother…and their paw’s right contentious” (Lee, 36). Later on in this chapter, Atticus tells Scout how Bob’s alcoholism affects his family. Atticus says, ” it’s certainly bad, but when a man spends his relief checks on green whiskey his children have a way of crying from hunger pains” (Lee, 41). This shows how Bob only cares about himself as he would rather spend his checks on himself than an essential need for his kids. In Chapter Nineteen, Tom Robinson is being accused of a crime he did not do. This shows how the Ewell’s lack honesty as they are trying to lock up a man who is guilty of no crime. When Tom is on the witness stand he tells the court his side of the story. Mayella brought him to her room and kissed him on the cheek. Tom then says that Mayella told him that she has never kissed a grown man before. Tom tells the court that Mayella says, “What her papa do to her don’t count” (Lee, 260). Tom’s testimony tells us that Bob Ewell most likely sexually assaults his daughter or treats her in a sexual way, which is disgusting and one of the worst things a parent can do.Throughout the book To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee suggests that a father’s influence has a significant effect on the character of his children. Jem and Scout who both look up to Atticus become morally good people just like him. Walter Jr. shares many of his father’s traits as they are both hardworking men. Walter Jr. is also a quiet, respectful boy who values hard work and dedication. Burris and Mayella are both disrespectful, mean, terrible individuals that lack honesty. They were raised by a horrible father in an abusive home without a positive role model, and Mayella is sexually assaulted by her own father. This is why To Kill A Mockingbird is a prime example that a bad, immoral father will have a negative impact on the lives of his children, while a good, caring father with good morals will have a positive impact on the lives of his children.

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