According to To Kill a Mockingbird, explain what a person needs to do in order to "act responsibly" in the 1930s in Maycomb, Alabama.


According to To Kill A Mockingbird, characters who act responsibly have to go against the social norms of the town and show respect for people who don't ordinarily receive respect. Going against norms is not in itself sufficient to show responsibility. Instead, people act responsibly by extending human decency and fairness to all people, even if these people are not usually given respect in the society at the time.

Atticus Finch typifies this type of responsibility because he treats everyone with respect, no matter what their background, race, or class. For example, he believes Tom Robinson is worthy of a fair trial, even though Tom Robinson is a black man in the Jim Crow South. Atticus also treats the Cunninghams, a poor family, well and gives them legal services in exchange for goods. Atticus's actions often make him unpopular in town, but his ethics lead him to respect others, even if the local society does not treat them well.

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