Gentleman as Hero: Atticus Finch and the Lonely Path

7 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2011

Date Written: January 1, 1993


Any reviewer of Tom Shaffer’s biography and the list of his more than 250 articles, essays, and books, is reminded of the way in which Tom distinguishes a hero from an everyday lawyer. His distinction perhaps fits Tom, but it more surely describes a major character of lawyer fiction with whose name Tom Shaffer’s will be forever linked – the person of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Why does the Gentleman from Maycomb stand as perhaps the most enduring image of Tom Shaffer’s work? As others have suggested, the image seems most anachronistic: Finch is a man, a white man, a Southerner, a gentleman, a rural lawyer, a lone practitioner engaged in general practice who disdains the commercial hustle for a genteel way of life. This article compares Atticus Finch to Tom Shaffer.

Keywords: Tom Shaffer, To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch, Lonely Path, gentlemen, hero, everyday lawyer

Suggested Citation

Failinger, Marie A., Gentleman as Hero: Atticus Finch and the Lonely Path (January 1, 1993). Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 10, p. 303, 1993-1994, Available at SSRN:

Marie A. Failinger (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

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