To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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What was Atticus doing at the jail in chapter 15 of "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Tom Robinson is about to be moved from the jailhouse in advance of his trial. Sheriff Heck Tate has caught wind that a mob is planning to descend upon the jailhouse to lynch Tom. Lynching was a common feature of Southern life at this time, and it was carried out primarily against African American men accused of transgressing the dominant moral code regarding sexual relations between the races.

As events prove, Heck is absolutely right to be concerned, as a mob led by Walter Cunningham Sr does turn up at the jailhouse ready to mete out summary justice to Tom Robinson. Atticus does not believe in summary justice; he wants to see justice done in a court of law. He knows full well that Tom has no chance of being acquitted, but it is a matter of principle that he should have his day in court. Atticus sits outside the jailhouse door in the hope that he will somehow persuade the mob not to take Tom away.

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In chapter 15 of To Kill a Mockingbird , visitors...

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bookworm2009 | Student

He was protecting Tom Robinson from the mob

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