What major problems does Atticus Finch face throughout the book?To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Atticus Finch faces sociological problems throughout the narrative of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

The neighborhood

In his own neighborhood, he has Mrs. Dubose to contend with as she hurls insults about him to his children. Understanding that she is addicted to morphine because she suffers from excrutiating pain, Atticus remains sanguine whenever she confronts him, tipping his hat and conducting himself as a gentleman.  Similarly, he instructs his children to be respectful of her as their elder.

Against the disapproval of Mrs. Merriweather and others such as Dill's Aunt Rachel and those who visit Aunt Alexandra at his home, Atticus remains firm in his conviction that Tom Robinson is deserving of a fair trial.

The family

When questioned by his brother about why he did not refuse to take the Robinson case, Atticus replies honorably to Uncle Jack,

"...do you think I could face my children otherwise? ....I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most all, without catching Maycomb's usual disease."

Aunt Alexandra, too, wishes that Atticus could avoid the dangers concomitant with the trial.

The townspeople

In Chapter 15 when Mr. Link Deas suggests that the "Old Sarum bunch" might cause trouble, Atticus calmly suggests that there is not much point in changing the venue of the trial.  Then, cleverly, he appeals to the men's pride by asking if Mr. Deas is not afraid of this group.

Of course, when the mob comes to the jailhouse, Atticus faces them with courage as he sits before the door under the light.  Also, when the men come to the front yard, it is a brave Atticus who defends Tom's right to a equitable trial.

Confronted with Bob Ewell's insults before the courthouse, Atticus again conducts himself as a true gentleman of integrity.  He does not stoop to Ewell's level of insults, but merely wipes the spit from his face and walks on.

Truly, Atticus faces all his social conflicts with equanimity and conviction in the principles in which he believes.

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