In Chapter 16 of To Kill A Mockingbird, what "subtle change" does Scout notice in her father?
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Atticus has been characterized throughout the novel as a patient man, but after the mob scene at the jailhouse, and his sister's negative comments about his taking the case, Atticus is beginning to show signs of anger. This is the first time Scout has ever seen her father exhibit anything other than total composure and patience. The stress of the case is beginning to wear on him, mirroring just how difficult it must be for a man to take a case knowing that he will lose. Also, since it a case dealing with such a sensitive matter, Atticus is beginning to show signs of outrage against the prejudice of his town and even towards members of his family (Aunt Alexandra).
Atticus is starting to become annoyed and impatient with Aunt Alexandra.
"I was beginning to notice a subtle change in my father these days, that came out when he talked with Aunt Alexandra. It was a quiet digging in, never outright irritation."
When the incident at the jail, Scout starts seeing a few changes in her father. Atticus is under tremendous stress from the townspeople and Aunt Alexandra. When he speaks with Aunt Alexandra, Scout sees that Atticus gets more tense. He is also losing patience more easily.
Atticus has always had the patience of a saint, but Scout can see in chapter 16, that he is starting to have his patience tested. Aunt Alexandra is pushing Atticus about not taking the case, the town is trying to create a riot, and Atticus is feeling all the pressure. Scout sees that he is not walking as tall as he once did. He is starting to work later at night, and now Calpurnia and Aunt Alexandra are having to watch the children more. Scout sees that her father is put under tremendous pressure.
Atticus has worked so hard to teach his children that justice comes first. He wants them to know that no matter what, you have to fight for what is right. He has tried so hard to keep Jem and Scout safe, and he sees that safety is no longer a guarantee. All of these things are making Scout see that her father is fatigued and worried.
While Scout usually sees her father in a calm and collected atmosphere, as other poke fun at him for siding with an African man, this leads to immense stress on him. Atticus ends up getting angry and stressed and Scout ends up seeing this new side of her father she was not expecting.
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