What is a quote that helps to show how atticus is courageous when he was going to be against the whole town and defending a black man?it would be great if you could provide a chapter and page....

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cldbentley's profile pic

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On page 220 of Chapter 23 of To Kill a Mockingbird (in my copy), Atticus Finch discusses the loss of Tom Robinson's trial with his children, Jem and Scout.  According to Atticus, Robinson's trial would have turned out differently had the jury been comprised of individuals who were free of societal pressures and influences. 

"...So far nothing in your life has interfered with your reasoning process.  Those are twelve reasonable men in everyday life, Tom's jury, but you saw something come between them and reason.  You saw the same thing that night in front of the jail.  When that crew went away, they didn't go as reasonable men,t hey went because we were there.  There's something in our world that makes men lose their heads--they couldn't be fair if they tried.  In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins.  They're ugly, but those are the facts of life."

Atticus is well aware of the power and influence of society.  He realizes that he must go against the town's sense of right and wrong in order to defend a man who he knows to be innocent.  By choosing to do something that others have such strong inclinations against, Atticus makes himself and his loved ones vulnerable, yet he does what is right anyway.  The possibility of being shunned and ridiculed by his fellow citizens was also a distinct possibility, but Atticus was courageous and did not give in to the pressure of others to compromise his ethics and morals. 


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