How do the people of Maycomb treat Atticus and the children after news that he is defending Tom Robinson gets out in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The children and adults alike are cruel to Atticus and his children.

No one was very happy with Atticus defending Tom Robinson.  They understood that he was appointed, but they also understood that he was going to try.  They did not want him to try.  In their minds, Tom Robinson was guilty because he was black.

"Before I'm through, I intend to jar the jury a bit- I think we'll have a reasonable chance on appeal, though. …. You know, I'd hoped to get through life without a case of this kind…" (ch 9)

Unfortunately, most of the town teased Scout and Jem, from children up to adults like Mrs. Dubose.  Jem got so upset at her insults that he ruined her flowers.  Scout fought her own cousin because of what he said about her father.

"… I guess it ain't your fault if Uncle Atticus is a nigger-lover besides, but I'm here to tell you it certainly does mortify the rest of the family-" (ch 9)

Scout even asks her father why what he is doing is so wrong, and he explains to her that some people do not want him defending a Negro, but that he would have no self-respect if he didn’t.  It was his duty to stick to his moral imperative and do what he thought was right.

By the time it gets closer to trial time, everyone is talking about the Finch family.  People talk about the children behind their backs, but loud enough for them to hear.

..."There's his chillun," or, "Yonder's some Finches." Turning to face our accusers, we would see only a couple of farmers... (ch 14)

The Finch family tries to stick together, even Aunt Alexandra, because they want to support Atticus.  They know they are taking flack because of him, but they also want to stand behind him and stand up for him.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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