Some ideas never get old and the truth is eternal. Atticus Finch is wise beyond his time. His words and ideas transcend his time period. This essay will argue that the words and ideas expressed by Atticus Finch are just as true today as when he spoke them and that they have much to teach today's adolescents about courage, tolerance and decency.
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is seen through the eyes of perhaps the worst period of time in the United States, the Great Depression. The country was stricken with a massive economic downturn, which brought with it severe job loss, food shortage, and adverse feelings. Our current time period is similar in some ways but different in very many more ways. Today we are faced with difficult economic problems, but the social problems that affect my life as a young adult are quite different than those faced by Scout and Jem in the book. I doubt they were concerned with how many "likes" their Instagram picture got. The words of wisdom that Atticus gives to his children and his community still have much to tell adolescents today about tolerance, decency and justice. .
I think that one of the major themes of To Kill a Mockingbird is courage. At a time when racism was widespread in the United States, Atticus combats a racist town by representing Tom, a negro, as his lawyer. This makes him very unpopular with his neighbors and makes his children, Scout and Jem, targets for bullying and insults at their school. Courage can be defined as doing the unpopular thing that you know is right. Atticus defines it better: "It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do." (Page 112) Maybe the best demonstration of courage in the book is when Atticus stands up to a crowd of men at the jail who want to lynch Tom Robinson. It is dark, the Sheriff is missing, the men have guns, and Atticus is all alone.