To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is filled with secrecy and mystery. Atticus is a huge prime example of this. His entire character is a theme in itself. He’s themed maturity, wisdom, along with mystery. In the beginning of the book, he seems like nothing special. He starts out as a boring, “old” lawyer that doesn’t have much to do in the story. As time goes on, his melancholy attitude becomes passé. It also reveals that Atticus has been very secretive to his children. It’s a transition between nothingness, to a sense of strength and insight.
For example, when Tim Johnson, the rabid dog got loose and put the whole town on tenterhooks, Atticus takes up the job to shoot it. His shot is near perfect; it is a little to the right of the eyes. Shockingly, it turns out he used to be a dead-shot with rifles in his younger days. Scout and Jem always grew up thinking Atticus disliked and disapproved of guns. Another example is when Scout went to talk to Miss Maudie Atkinson. Almost everything Scout currently thought about Atticus was crushed. Scout thought that Atticus wasn’t anything special, because he didn’t play in the town football game and he was disliked because he was defending a black man in the court. It turns out he could play the Jew’s Harp, which has many rudiments to play. He is also the best checker player in all of Maycomb. This surprised Scout immensely. Both of these examples symbolized secrecy.
It’s odd that Atticus kept all this information from his kids. It’s as if he didn’t want them to know how accomplished he really is. His character is a symbol for bravery, for defending a seemingly impossible case; mystery, for stashing away his talents as if they were dirty trash; and wisdom, for being so skillful and mature when dealing with tough situations.