In To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Sheriff Tate say, "Change of venue. Not much point, now is it?"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 15, a group of men come into the Finches' front yard one evening after the family has had their supper. Scout observes,

In Maycomb grown men stood outside in the front year for only two reasons: death and politics.

Sheriff Tate has come to warn Atticus that Tom Robinson is to be moved to the county jail the next day, and he is rather concerned, 

"I don't look for any trouble, but I can't guarantee there won't be any."

When Atticus reminds him that "This is Maycomb," the sheriff tells him that he has said this because he is uneasy, but Mr. Link Deas injects that the Old Sarum bunch worries him. This group is one Scout has described earlier in Chapter 1. They are

an enormous and confusing the northern part of the county, and they formed the nearest thing to a gang ever seen in Maycomb.

As youths they had been sent to the state industrial school. Mr. Cunningham is one of this belligerent clan.

When Mr. Deas suggests that the trial be moved to another town, Sheriff Tate replies that it will not do any good to move the trial: "Not much point, now is it?" For, all the towns in Alabama have men who will want to lynch Tom Robinson simply because he has touched a white woman; the Jim Crow Laws are solidly part of the culture. 


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