Although Atticus describes Mrs. Dubose as "the bravest person I ever knew", it is Atticus himself who is the real hero of the novel. Atticus is unlike most heroes, he is a humble, intelligent man who teaches his children that moral courage is far greater than being brave with a gun in your hand. Throughout the novel his character shows compassion and sympathy for the less fortunate, whether they be right or wrong. In a time in America where blacks were considered to be subhuman he has a black woman raising his children and defended an innocent black man,doing so with integrity and pride.
Atticus Finch is a good lawyer, who believes in justice and the justice system. Atticus Finch would have been one of the few lawyers of his time who could honestly admit that he believes that the justice system should be colour blind. Through Scouts eyes we only get the smaller details of the Tom Robinson trial in the beginning, although her point of view also makes Atticus, her father, seem to us, as he would seem to her: a hero. In his closing statement Atticus stated a famous quote from a man admired by most the people in the court room and most importantly on the jury he said
" Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal .... we know that all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe - some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they are born with it.... But there is one place in this country in which all men are created equal - there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man an equal of Einstein and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. This institution, gentlemen, is a court .... in our courts all men are created equal" (pg. 209).