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Both Jem and Scout break the tension when they come out from their hiding place at the jail where Atticus has set up watch over Tom Robinson for the night. As the men approach Atticus Scout and Jem come out from hiding and Scout sees true terror on Atticus' face when he realizes that his children are in harm’s way as well as himself. This speaks volumes about a man who would stand up to a mob and potentially give up his life but, however, when his children are involved he becomes petrified. As the children ignore Atticus order for them to leave, one of the men grabs Jem by the shirt collar prompting a kick in the shin from Scout. These events ratchet up the tension until Scout singles out one man, Mr. Cunningham, from the group and asks him how his son is doing. She unknowingly diffuses the situation by reminding Mr. Cunningham of his ties to the Finch family. Having been reminded of the true kindnesses that Atticus has done to him in the past, Mr. Cunningham orders the rest of the men to leave.
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