The father of Jem and Scout Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch is first introduced to us by the story's narrator, Scout Finch. Scout is a loosely autobiographical character for Harper Lee, a young girl growing up in America's Deep South during The Great Depression. Through Scout's seven year old eyes and perception of events we see the themes of the novel, prejudice and injustice, unfold. She introduces Atticus by saying, "Jem and I found our father satisfactory: he played with us, read to us, and treated us with courteous detachment." This portrayal of an intelligent, loving father is experienced first hand in Scout's first day at school. When her first teacher tells Scout she must read at home, Atticus treats the petulant Scout as he would any other aggrieved adult, he suggests they reach a compromise.
Throughout the novel, Atticus is a role model for the children, in the intensely racist environment of the Deep South, we see Atticus defend in court a black man accused of raping a white woman. Already condemned by the population of their hometown of Maycomb, Tom Robinson is found guilty despite Atticus' brilliant and ultimately valid defense. The court case forms the main section of the book and shows many times Atticus' unprejudiced attitude and noble nature. Not only is he a good parent he is portrayed as a good man and a talented lawyer too.
In the 1962 film version of the novel Atticus is played by Gregory Peck, for which he won Best Actor at the 1963 Oscars.