The narrator and main character who begins her story at almost six years old. A rebellious tomboy, Scout has a fierce disposition toward any who challenge her, but at heart she believes in the goodness of people. Scout reacts to the terrible events of the book without losing hope in humanity.
Jem (Jeremy Finch)
Scout's older brother, who is nearly ten at the beginning of the story. Jem is quieter and more reserved than his sister, and has very high standards and expectations for people. When these expectations are not met, Jem has a difficult time resolving his feelings.
Dill (Charles Baker Harris)
A friend of the Finch children, who is a little older than Scout, quite short for his age, has an active imagination, and exhibits a strong sense of adventure. He initiates the first expeditions toward the Radley house, and is Scout's best friend. His family life is less than ideal, and he tends to resort to escapism when confronted with difficult situations. Dill spends summers with his aunt, who lives next door to the Finch family.
The father of Scout and Jem, Atticus is a lawyer and an extremely morally upright man who strives to deal with everyone fairly. Atticus is sometimes overly optimistic, but his unshakable hope in mankind and self-created role as the town 'do-gooder' sustain him. Atticus' wife died when Scout was very small, and he has raised his children only with the assistance of Calpurnia, his black housekeeper and cook.
A recluse who never emerges from his house. As a young boy, he was in trouble with the police, and his strictly religious and reclusive parents have kept him indoors ever since. A prisoner in his home, he stabbed his father with scissors once, and no one has seen him since. The town has developed a myth that he is an insane monster who wanders around at night peering into people's windows. Throughout the book, he lives with his brother, who is highly controlling.
A black man who stands falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Atticus agrees to take his case, even though he knows it is probably hopeless, if only to show the white community its own moral degeneracy.
A black woman who works as the Finch family's cook and housekeeper. She is one of the many motherly figures in Scout's life and one of the few who can negotiate between the very separate black and white worlds of Maycomb.
Atticus's sister, who has very strict, traditional ideas of how society works and the role a Southern woman should play. She earneslty tries to pass along this information to Scout, who is not particularly interested. Alexandra is concerned with raising Atticus's children "properly," and thus appears during the summer of Tom's trial to stay with them.
A kind, cheerful, and witty neighbor and trusted friend of Scout's, who also upholds a strong moral code and helps the children gain perspective on the events surrounding the trial. She also loves gardening.
An evil, ignorant man who belongs to the lowest substratum of Maycomb society. He lives with his nine motherless children in a shack near the town dump. Evidence from the trial suggests that he caught his daughter kissing Tom, proceeded to beat her, and then encouraged her to claim Tom raped her. He drinks heavily and spends his relief checks on whiskey rather than food for his family. Bob holds a strong grudge against Atticus and attacks his children at the end of the novel.
The oldest of the many Ewell children, at age nineteen. She lives a miserable and lonely existence, despised by whites and prohibited from befriending blacks. However, she breaks a social taboo by trying to seduce Tom, then reacts with cowardice by accusing him of rape and perjuring against him in court.
Maycomb County's trusty sheriff, who is ultimately an honest and upstanding man.
The reverend for the all-black congregation, First Purchase African M.E. church, which Scout and Jem visit one day with Calpurnia.
The judge for Tom's trial. Taylor is a good, sensible man with a sense of humor, who manages a strict courtroom.
Lawyer for the Ewell family in Tom Robinson's case.
A mean, sick, very old woman who lives near the Finch family. Jem unknowingly assists her with her heroic attempt to conquer her morphine addiction, a fight that wins her Atticus's highest praises.
A poor farmer who is among the "Sarum bunch," a crowd which assembles near the town jail the night before Tom's trial in order to start a lynching. He is deeply moved by Scout's friendly words when she tries to diffuse the situation, and as a result leads the rest of the men in going home. Ever after, he respects the Finch family greatly.
Walter Cunningham (Jr.)
Son of the other Walter, who attends first grade with Scout.
A white man who chose to marry a black woman and have "mixed" children. He pretends to be a drunk so that the townspeople will have a way to more comfortably explain his behavior and life choices.
Wife of Tom.
Atticus's brother, a doctor Jem and Scout are very fond of.
One of Aunt Alexandra's grandchildren, who spends Christmas with the Finch family and annoys Scout by being both boring and cruel.
To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for To Kill a Mockingbird is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Atticus wants the children to understand that courage has to do with the fight for one's personal goals, no matter what the odds are against achieving the goal. Heroism consists of the fight itself, the struggle against fate, circumstance, or any...