Jean Louise “Scout” Finch
The narrator and protagonist of the story. Scout
lives with her father, Atticus, her brother, Jem, and their black
cook, Calpurnia, in Maycomb. She is intelligent and, by the standards
of her time and place, a tomboy. Scout has a combative streak and
a basic faith in the goodness of the people in her community. As
the novel progresses, this faith is tested by the hatred and prejudice
that emerge during Tom Robinson’s trial. Scout eventually develops
a more grown-up perspective that enables her to appreciate human
goodness without ignoring
and Jem’s father, a lawyer in Maycomb descended from an old local
family. A widower with a dry sense of humor, Atticus has instilled
in his children his strong sense of morality and justice. He is
one of the few residents of Maycomb committed to racial equality.
When he agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man charged with
raping a white woman, he exposes himself and his family to the anger
of the white community. With his strongly held convictions, wisdom,
and empathy, Atticus functions as the novel’s moral backbone.
Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch
Scout’s brother and constant playmate at the beginning
of the story. Jem is something of a typical American boy, refusing
to back down from dares and fantasizing about playing football.
Four years older than Scout, he gradually separates himself from
her games, but he remains her close companion and protector throughout
the novel. Jem moves into adolescence during the story, and his
ideals are shaken badly by the evil and injustice that he perceives
during the trial of Tom Robinson.
Arthur “Boo” Radley
A recluse who never sets foot outside his house,
Boo dominates the imaginations of Jem, Scout, and Dill. He is a
powerful symbol of goodness swathed in an initial shroud of creepiness,
leaving little presents for Scout and Jem and emerging at an opportune moment
to save the children. An intelligent child emotionally damaged by
his cruel father, Boo provides an example of the threat that evil
poses to innocence and goodness. He is one of the novel’s “mockingbirds,” a
good person injured by the evil
drunken, mostly unemployed member of Maycomb’s poorest family. In
his knowingly wrongful accusation that Tom Robinson raped his daughter,
Ewell represents the dark side of the South: ignorance, poverty,
squalor, and hate-filled racial prejudice.
Charles Baker “Dill” Harris
Jem and Scout’s summer neighbor and friend. Dill
is a diminutive, confident boy with an active imagination. He becomes
fascinated with Boo Radley and represents the perspective of childhood innocence
throughout the novel.
Miss Maudie Atkinson
The Finches’ neighbor, a sharp-tongued widow, and
an old friend of the family. Miss Maudie is almost the same age
as Atticus’s younger brother, Jack. She shares Atticus’s passion
for justice and is the children’s best friend among Maycomb’s adults.
Finches’ black cook. Calpurnia is a stern disciplinarian and the
children’s bridge between the white world and her own black community.
sister, a strong-willed woman with a fierce devotion to her family.
Alexandra is the perfect Southern lady, and her commitment to propriety
and tradition often leads her to clash with Scout.
Ewell’s abused, lonely, unhappy daughter. Though one can pity Mayella
because of her overbearing father, one cannot pardon her for her shameful
indictment of Tom Robinson.
black field hand accused of rape. Tom is one of the novel’s “mockingbirds,”
an important symbol of innocence destroyed by evil.
Robinson’s employer. In his willingness to look past race and praise
the integrity of Tom’s character, Deas epitomizes the opposite of
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
An elderly, ill-tempered, racist woman who lives
near the Finches. Although Jem believes that Mrs. Dubose is a thoroughly
bad woman, Atticus admires her for the courage with which she battles
her morphine addiction.
Radley’s older brother. Scout thinks that Nathan is similar to the
deceased Mr. Radley, Boo and Nathan’s father. Nathan cruelly cuts
off an important element of Boo’s relationship with Jem and Scout
when he plugs up the knothole in which Boo leaves presents for the
sheriff of Maycomb and a major witness at Tom Robinson’s trial.
Heck is a decent man who tries to protect the innocent from danger.
publisher of Maycomb’s newspaper. Mr. Underwood respects Atticus
and proves his ally.
Mr. Dolphus Raymond
A wealthy white man who lives with his black mistress
and mulatto children. Raymond pretends to be a drunk so that the
citizens of Maycomb will have an explanation for his behavior. In
reality, he is simply jaded by the hypocrisy of white society and prefers
living among blacks.
Mr. Walter Cunningham
A poor farmer and part of the mob that seeks to
lynch Tom Robinson at the jail. Mr. Cunningham displays his
human goodness when Scout’s politeness compels him to disperse the
men at the jail.
Son of Mr. Cunningham and classmate of Scout.
Walter cannot afford lunch one day at school and accidentally gets
Scout in trouble.