In Chapter 15 in To Kill a Mockingbird, contrast the way Atticus rises from his chair at the jail and the way that he normally rises.

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Throughout most of Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch does most of his sitting while leisurely reading with daughter, Scout, in his lap. When he wants to think, he fiddles with his pocket watch. He tucks Scout's head under his chin while they discuss problems of the day or while he reads to her. Scout looks forward to this session each evening with her father, and Atticus decides to continue doing so even after Miss Caroline urges Scout to tell Atticus to stop reading to her.

But at the jail, he is far from relaxed. He awaits the lynch mob that plans to free Tom Robinson from the jail, and though he appears cool and calm, he knows that murder is on their minds. When Scout, Jem and Dill suddenly appear, he realizes that the bad situation has been compounded.

    I thought he would have a fine surprise, but his face killed my joy. A flash of plain fear was going out of his eyes...
    Atticus got up from his chair, but he was moving slowly, like an old man. He put the newspaper down very carefully, adjusting its creases with lingering fingers. They were trembling a little.

Atticus expects the worse, and at first it appears that bad things are about to happen. But Scout's innocent banter soon shames the men into leaving as they had come--leaving Tom Robinson behind, and Atticus "leaning against it (the jail) with his face to the wall." 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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