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Chapter 9 of the novel is important because it demonstrates the effect of Attiucs' decision to defend Tom Robinson on his family. The chapter begins with Jem having to fight someone because he had called him a nigger lover.
Atticus shares his views on why he has chose to defend Tom to his children expressing that it is the right thing to do. Atticus also explains to the children that what is different now in his choice is that it has put them at odds with their friends.
The problem is further exacerbated when the family gathers for Christmas dinner at Uncle Jack's. Scout and Francis get into a fight over the same issue and Uncle Jack tells Scout he is disappointed in her. However, she finally gets to tell hi why she had reacted.
The reader also learns from Atticus' point of view that he is most concerned about Scout. Jem is a more calm personality but Atticus knows that Scout has a more impulsive nature and temper.
At the very end Scout discusses how she had overheard her father's conversation. She thinks he meant for her to hear what they had to say. Basically it was because Atticus had hoped to reach Scout through her ease dropping. Scout was known for being nosey.
What Scout is saying here is that she did not really understand that her father was trying to teach her a lesson. He was trying to get her to hear the things that he was saying.
The reason that this was important is that the rest of the story is going to have a lot to do with the way that black people are treated in Maycomb. Atticus dislikes the way that black people are treated in Maycomb. Over the course of the story, he will expose his kids to his ideas. He is hoping here that they will pay more attention to his ways and less to the ideas of the rest of the people of Maycomb.
When Atticus deliberately allowed Scout to overhear his conversation with brother Jack in Chapter Nine of To Kill a Mockingbird, he was attempting to teach her another of his life's lessons. He knew Jem and Scout had level heads on their shoulders and hoped they would not be among the "reasonable people (who) go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up." He hoped that his children would "trust me enough" to follow the example he tried to set as a father. He wanted them to become responsible adults, and he apparently succeeded.
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