The Impact of Atticus Finch's Closing Argument in to Kill a Mockingbird

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 693 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Words: 693|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Rhetorical Strategies
  2. Emotional Appeal
  3. Impact on the Reader
  4. Conclusion

Harper Lee’s classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, has captivated readers for decades with its powerful portrayal of racial injustice in the deep South. One of the most memorable scenes in the book is Atticus Finch’s closing argument in the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. This speech serves as a pivotal point in the narrative, revealing the deep-rooted prejudice and discrimination prevalent in Maycomb County during the 1930s. In this essay, I will analyze the key elements of Atticus Finch’s speech, examining its rhetorical strategies, emotional appeal, and overall impact on the reader.

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Rhetorical Strategies

Atticus Finch’s closing argument employs various rhetorical strategies to convey his message effectively and sway the jury, despite facing insurmountable odds. One prominent strategy he employs is the use of ethos. As a highly respected and esteemed lawyer in Maycomb, Atticus possesses credibility and trustworthiness, which he leverages to gain the confidence of the jury. By reminding the jury of his unimpeachable reputation and his dedication to justice, Atticus establishes himself as a reliable source of information, compelling them to consider his perspective.

Moreover, Atticus employs logos in his speech by presenting logical reasoning and evidence. He dismantles the prosecution’s case by exposing numerous inconsistencies and contradictions in the testimonies of the witnesses. Atticus masterfully uses his extensive knowledge and expertise in the legal field to dismantle the flimsy arguments put forth against Tom Robinson, leaving the jury with no choice but to question their initial prejudices.

Lastly, Atticus employs pathos, appealing to the emotions of the jury and the readers. He tells a deeply moving story about a father’s love and sacrifice for his children to highlight the unjust treatment of Tom Robinson. Atticus eloquently demonstrates how racial bias leads to the victimization of innocent individuals, drawing on the empathy of the jury and the readers to evoke a sense of moral responsibility for the injustices prevailing in society.

Emotional Appeal

Atticus Finch’s speech is infused with a strong emotional appeal, evoking empathy, compassion, and indignation in the listeners. He artfully weaves anecdotes, metaphors, and vivid descriptions to create a vivid emotional experience. For instance, Atticus narrates the story of Mayella Ewell's loneliness and abuse, humanizing her and highlighting the destructive consequences of societal prejudice. By doing so, he compels the jury to question their preconceived notions and sympathize with the plight of both Mayella and Tom Robinson.

Furthermore, Atticus utilizes metaphors to convey the gravity of racial discrimination. He compares the jury’s decision to an executioner pulling the lever on an innocent man, emphasizing the irreversible damage that prejudice inflicts on society. These evocative metaphors strike a chord with the audience, highlighting the urgent need for change and justice.

Impact on the Reader

Atticus Finch’s closing argument in To Kill a Mockingbird has a profound impact on the reader, leaving them not only intellectually moved but also emotionally stirred. The speech challenges the reader to confront their own biases and prejudices, inviting them to question the prevailing social order. Atticus’s unwavering commitment to justice and equality serves as a moral compass, inspiring readers to stand up against injustice and fight for what is right.

Moreover, the speech reveals the stark reality of racism and discrimination that continues to plague society. Through Atticus’s eloquent words, readers are forced to confront the harsh truth that prejudice not only impacts the lives of those directly affected but also corrodes the very fabric of society. The lasting impact of Atticus’s speech lies in its ability to incite readers to take action, to actively combat prejudice, and to work towards a more just and equitable society.

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In conclusion, Atticus Finch’s closing argument in To Kill a Mockingbird is a powerful demonstration of effective rhetoric, emotional appeal, and its overall impact on the reader. Through the strategic use of ethos, logos, and pathos, Atticus deconstructs the flawed arguments against Tom Robinson, shining a light on the pervasive racism and prejudice prevalent in Maycomb County. His speech serves as a rallying cry for justice, inspiring readers to challenge social norms and fight against discrimination. It is a timeless reminder of the power of words to effect change, making it a centerpiece of Lee’s seminal novel.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Impact of Atticus Finch’s Closing Argument in To Kill a Mockingbird. (2024, March 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“The Impact of Atticus Finch’s Closing Argument in To Kill a Mockingbird.” GradesFixer, 06 Mar. 2024,
The Impact of Atticus Finch’s Closing Argument in To Kill a Mockingbird. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
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