Why is ‘Atticus’ worth defending? Think of the children -- and the pets

From left: @atticusthedog, @finch_the_dog and @atticus_finch_dog on Instagram.

From left: @atticusthedog, @finch_the_dog
and @atticus_finch_dog on Instagram.

Well, the cat is out of the bag. Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” has revealed that Atticus Finch may not be the social justice warrior he was in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but that may not be cause for alarm for those who have chosen the name for their pet or child.

Just last year the name Atticus hit its highest level of popularity with 846 males named after the fictional character, according to Social Security records. The number may go down this year, but Los Angeles Times book critic David Ulin reminds us “Go Set a Watchman” is not a sequel but a first draft. “It is the place where Atticus begins.”

That may help to remind Atticus as Lee portrayed him in “To Kill a Mockingbird” -- the man who taught his daughter Scout about justice. Don’t feel bad for the many people who have chosen Atticus as a name for their sons -- or their furry best friends.


Many pets have been named Atticus and other characters -- Scout, brother Jem, and the neighbor Boo Radley -- from Lee’s first book or last draft, depending on how you read them. Jake Gyllenhaal named his dogs after characters Boo Radley and Atticus Finch.

And Gyllenhaal is not alone. A trip to Instagram revealed lots of animals with a “To Kill a Mockingbird” moniker:

Boo Radley in black and white.

Mr Boo Radley. #dogs #dogsofinstagram A photo posted by Peter Monn (@petermonn) on Oct 26, 2014 at 3:48pm PDT

A short-legged, noble Boo Radley.

I think we each got about 4 mosquito bites in the 5 minutes we were outside. #lovebooradley A photo posted by Boo Radley (@lovebooradley) on Aug 12, 2014 at 6:22pm PDT

Atticus the service dog goes craft shopping.

I’m being a very good boy at Hobby Lobby :) A photo posted by Atticus (@atticus_the_service_dog) on Jun 1, 2015 at 9:27am PDT

Another dog named Atticus.

If I sit still, you have to pet me. You promised. A photo posted by Atticus Finch (@finch_the_dog) on Jul 7, 2015 at 4:30pm PDT

A blue-eyed canine Atticus.

A day with I L¿¿VE TURLOCK!!! A photo posted by Atticus Finch (@atticus_finch_dog) on May 2, 2015 at 10:28am PDT

One more Atticus.

Sleepin’ with my monkey A photo posted by ¿¿¿¿Atticus¿¿¿¿ The dog (@atticusthedog) on Apr 27, 2013 at 11:57am PDT

Share your pet pics named Atticus Finch or Boo Radley with us!

More on Harper Lee:

Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’: Don’t write Atticus Finch off as a racist just yet

46 times ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ echoed through pop culture

Don’t let ‘Go Set a Watchman’ change the way you think about Atticus Finch: How his character evolved