Scout: Six-year-old Jean Louise
"Scout" Finch narrates Mockingbird. A tomboy at heart, Scout works hard not to "act like
a girl" by wearing overalls instead of dresses and beating up other children who antagonize her.
Scout spends her days playing outside with her older brother, Jem, and her best friend, Dill.
Extremely smart and bright for her age, Scout loves to read spends time reading with her father, Atticus,
every night. Spunky and head strong, Scout often finds herself in trouble with her father, her
housekeeper, Calpurnia, her neighbors, her aunt Alexandra, and her teachers. Despite the rules
of etiquette governing life in her small town, Scout voices her opinions and recognizes hypocrisy and
injustice in her elders.
Atticus: Father of Jem and Scout, Atticus Finch sits on the Alabama State Legislature and acts
as Maycomb's leading attorney. The epitome of moral character, Atticus teaches his children and
his community how to stand up for one's beliefs in the face of prejudice and ignorance by defending
a black man, Tom Robinson, wrongfully accused of raping a white woman. Having lost his wife when
Scout was two years old, Atticus devotes himself to his children despite criticism from family and neighbors
who think his children lack discipline and proper guidance. Atticus stands as one of literature's
strongest and most positive father figures.
Jem: Ten years old when the book begins , Jeremy "Jem" Finch acts as Scout's
playmate and protector. Entering adolescence during the course of Mockingbird, Jem matures
as he struggles with issues of racism and intolerance. On the brink of manhood, Jem goes through
phases as he comes to grips with his family's past and his future role in society. Sometimes moody
and sullen, sometimes kind and gentle, Jem emerges as a leader as he helps Scout understand how to get
along in school and reminds her to respect Atticus and their other elders.
Dill: Harper Lee based her character, Charles
Baker "Dill" Harris, on her girlhood friend and famous writer, Truman Capote. Spending his summers
with his relative, Miss Rachel, in Maycomb, Dill, who is Scout's age, comes from a broken family.
Dill spins grand tales about his father but runs away from home late in the book because he feels his
mother and step-father don't care about him. During his summer's however, he, Jem, and Scout entertain
themselves by pretending they are characters in plays and attempting to coax Boo Radley out of his house.
Boo Radley: Arthur "Boo"
Radley is Maycomb's town recluse. Myths and rumors about Boo and his family abound. According
to town gossip, Boo stabbed his father in the leg when he was a boy and has since been confined to his
house. The children imagine Boo as a ghoulish figure who eats cats and stalks about the neighborhood
under the cover of night. In fact, Boo stands as a figure of innocence who befriends and protects
the children in his own way.
Calpurnia: The Finch's black housekeeper, Calpurnia acts as a mother figure and disciplinarian
in the Finch household. Atticus trusts Calpurnia, relies on her for support raising his children,
and considers her part of the family. Calpurnia also gives the children insight into her world
when she takes them to her church.
Tom Robinson: The most important client of Atticus' career, Tom Robinson, a young, black
man, is a church going, father of four accused of rape by Mayella Ewell.
Bob Ewell: The father of eight, Bob Ewell, a white
man, and his family live behind Maycomb's dump. Desperately poor, Ewell uses his welfare money
to buy alcohol while his children go hungry. His nineteen year old daughter, Mayella, accuses
Tom Robinson of rape and battery.
Aunt Alexandra: Atticus' sister, Aunt Alexandra is a proper Southern woman who maintains a strict
code about with whom she and her family should associate. She criticizes Atticus for letting Scout
run wild and when she moves into their home during Tom Robinson's trial, Alexandra urges Scout to wear
dresses and become a proper lady.
Miss Maudie: Miss Maudie is the counterpoint to Aunt Alexandra. A neighbor to the Finch
family, Maudie offers Scout a female role model opposite from Alexandra. Maudie respects the children
and admires Atticus. Unlike the other women in the town, Maudie minds her own business and behaves
without pretension or hypocrisy.
Walter Cunningham: Walter Cunningham plays a small but important role in Mockingbird.
A farming family, the Cunninghams occupy a middle position in Maycomb's class hierarchy above African
American citizens and the Ewells but below Atticus and the Finch family. Honest and hard working, Walter
Cunningham and his son are respectable community members who represent the potential in everyone to
understand right from wrong despite ignorance and prejudice.