The book has major and minor characters. The major characters of the novel include Jean Scout, Jem, Atticus Finch, Arthur Boo Radley, Bob Ewell, and Tom Robinson. However, the main protagonist and narrator of the story is Jean Scout Finch. She narrates the events of the story as an adult, which took place when she was between 6 to 9 years old. There is no mention of her mother but she lives with her brother Jem and father Atticus.
The family lives in the southern town Maycomb (Fernando, 2012). She is considered to be a smart and kind girl but is also a bit of a tomboy. Scout sees the good in people and believes that the people of Maycomb are good at heart. However, throughout the course of the book, this is constantly tested during Tom Robinson’s trial, which is marred by prejudice and hate. This gives her a different perspective and a more thorough understanding of her society (Fernando, 2012).
Atticus Finch is a widowed father to Scout and Jem who works as an attorney. He has lived in Maycomb his entire life and has deep roots in the town. His role in the book breaks the stereotype of the typical conniving and ruthless lawyer. And unlike other white people in Maycomb, he is committed to racial equality, instilling morality and justice in his children (Lee, 1960). But his love for justice causes most of the townspeople to turn against him for choosing to defend a black man. This spirals down to his two children who are mistreated by both their peers and adults alike.
Jeremy Finch, known as Jem, is Scout’s brother. They are good friends and play together frequently, though Jem is more quiet and reserved than his sister. He also sees it as his brotherly duty to protect her. A problem that he has is that he holds people in high regard and feels let down when his expectations are not lived up to. He also loves football and hopes to one day play it professionally. Since he is brought up under the virtues of justice, his belief in the goodness of humanity is quite shaken when he sees how cruel people can be (Lee, 1960).
Arthur Boo Radley is a loner who rarely, if ever, leaves his house. The people of Maycomb almost never see him, prompting Scout, Dill, and Jem to play pranks on him. Throughout the novel, he is seen to be kind-hearted while the rest of the townspeople become heartless and cruel (Lee, 1960). Despite being emotionally hurt by his father, he does not lose his good nature and even showers Scout, Dill, and Jem with gifts. In addition, the title of the novel alludes to this character since he becomes reclusive as a reaction to the evil that is rampant in society.
Bob Ewell, lives near Dump Town with nine of his children. He is a very evil and ignorant man who coerces her daughter to claim that Tom raped her while he himself beat up her up according to the evidence presented in court. Additionally, he is an irresponsible parent who prefers to drink than buy his children food. He begrudges the Finch family and attacks Atticus’ children later in the novel (Conevey, 2013).
Tom Robinson is the man who is accused of raping Bob Ewell’s daughter, Mayella Ewell. The main subplots of the story revolve around these characters. However, there are many other characters in supportive roles.