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Why did Heck Tate and the men with him want Tom Robinson moved out of the local jail in...

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krissie97 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 12, 2012 at 9:46 AM via web

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Why did Heck Tate and the men with him want Tom Robinson moved out of the local jail in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 12, 2012 at 5:12 PM (Answer #1)

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Sheriff Tate and the other men who congregate in Atticus's front yard are worried because they have just learned that Tom will be moved to the local county jail the following day. Tate recognizes that there may be surprises. "I don't look for any trouble, but I can't guarantee there won't be any...," he tells Atticus. Link Deas responds that it's not the people of Maycomb that are "up to anything, it's that Old Sarum bunch I'm worried about..."  The men are concerned that Tom may not be safe in the jail with just Sheriff Tate on guard, and their suspicions prove to be true the next evening. First, Tate is lured away on "a snipe hunt," forcing Atticus to stand alone outside the jail. Just as Link Deas predicted, it is a group of Old Sarum men (including several of the Cunningham clan) who show up at what they expect will be an undefended jail, intent on taking Tom by force and lynching him.

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