Atticus is a small town lawyer, a man with strict and inflexible morals for himself and his two children Gem and Scout. He is probably the main source of the books main themes; human nature, isolation, prejudice, fear and the class status in his part of America in the retrospective 1930’s. He is what would be stereotypically classed as a ‘good’ man; he will always do his utmost to help other people, regardless of their financial status. He lets his clients pay him for his skills with what ever they can, whether it be farm produce or their services or skills for him. Why should this make Atticus a hero? Kind hearted or well brought up maybe. But is he heroic?
Atticus is prepared to protest a black mans innocence over a white mans. Whether this is because he wants to build black relations in his small yet divided town, or justify his acceptance of the black community into his life to all the town’s community or just because it is unashamedly obvious that the prosecution are relying on profoundly routed racism to accuse and convict a black man, no matter how impossible the circumstances may be. But heroism isn’t and cannot be simply doing good for others, this singularly could make you an incredibly boring person. Standing up for ones beliefs isn’t heroic either.
For someone to be heroic they need to have a percentage of selfish ignorance, otherwise why would there be any reason to push yourself or to help others? Classic examples of heroes such as Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Wonder women etc. always have double lives. They have to break from their normal, mostly boring or run of the mill lives to perform heroism, usually requiring a ridiculous costume as well to do so. I might well be criticized for drawing reference to such non-intellectual and meaningless children’s fictional characters, but lets not forget that both Atticus and Dracula are both completely non-existent, despite what metaphoric qualities they might have, they have never drawn breath nor walked the earth.
In Stoker’s novel, Dracula’s life is always told from at the very closest, Jonathon Harker Diary. And for a large part of the book, Dracula isn’t mentioned at all, only his representation or his presence on a higher level. His activities are always kept very mysterious and secretive because of this. The idea that Dracula is a ‘thing’ not an ‘it’, becomes more and more obvious as the book continues. From the start of the book, as described by Jonathon Harker’s diaries, Dracula is a physical being, he has two legs, two eyes and a mind. Steadily as the traits of Dracula go on, he becomes less and less of a being, and more of a state of mind.
Having re-read the important sections of Dracula, I was able to pick out many points and extracts that I think go to build the large sub plots and the sexual mystique of Dracula. From the very start Dracula is made very mysterious and masculine. His ability to control wild beasts of the night, along with the description of his appearance, ‘Lulling toughs of shaggy hair’, ‘Strong aqua line nose’, Massive eye brows’, ‘Broad, Strong Jaw’ and ‘Overall Power’. Also mentions of his graceful mannerisms and his dark and intriguing castle go to make a deep and ‘arousing’ character. As the stories and notes in Harker’s diary continue, so does Dracula’s development into a mentality, a hypothetic state of mind. Many of the descriptions in the early parts of the book can easily be interrupted as something other than the presented.
Its doesn’t take a developing male’s teenage mind to read through the words to find the story! You really have to bear in mind that at the time of Dracula original publication, even the sight of table legs was unacceptable for some groups! And even the thought of blood was taboo! So the idea of a man pumping his own blood into a ‘lady’ was inconceivable. And if you’ve really got your pervert head on, and give absolutely everything a sexual significance, then some of the passages in the book have very very descript undertones. Maybe this is to play on readers subconscious, maybe it is to encourage the reader to read on a different level, we will never know. But the reader definitely has some kind of respect or sympathy for Dracula through out the novel, with sections like Jonathon’s experiences with the three young women, and the description of the rout to Dracula’s coffin resting place only confuse and challenge the readers mind to try and understand what human trait or emotion Dracula is an allegory of.
To Kill A Mockingbird is written from a growing child’s viewpoint. You can really see how the children’s understanding of the world and its ways change through the book, usually the understandings grow and evolve into more mature understanding. But sometimes as the children grow, their free thought is moulded into what they’ve subconsciously learnt is ‘the done thing’. Gem and Scout’s view of there father is more concentrated than any other characters in the book because of their sibling love for him. They more than just love him as their father, the know and have done from an early age that he is different from others. They might not know why, but Gem develops a good understanding of his father towards the end of the book; he has a more sophisticated perception of Atticus than his younger sister Scout, though they both respect him equally.
Because the children sometimes describe what they think, and being children don’t always fully understand a subject, we as the reader can use the recollections that they have to understand the situation better. Even with this link to Atticus’s home life and thoughts, it is hard to predict what Atticus is thinking; he isn’t a very open character. He lives his life in a very precise way, and has many morals, but unlike Dracula, he is not purposely trying to hide anything, or be secretive. His nature is to be conserved and instantly resourceful should he need to be. His character changes very little through out the book, his temper and understanding of his life change, but the man Atticus Finch stays as solid, ethical and honest as he always had been.