How does Atticus display integrity when he is debating with Sheriff Tate on how to handle Bob Ewell's murder inTo Kill a Mockingbird? How is he being consistent with his actions?
Integrity: Consistency in one's actions or beliefs, Chapter 30
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This is one of the few scenes in the novel in which Atticus does not seem to be thinking clearly: Atticus initially believes that it must have been Jem who killed Bob Ewell, and it takes a determined effort from Sheriff Tate to convince him otherwise. Tate realizes that no injured boy could have fought off Bob, drunk or not; yet, Atticus doesn't seem to be " 'able to put two and two together...' "
"I won't have it," Atticus said softly.
"God damn it, I'm not thinking of Jem!" (Chapter 30)
Atticus believes that, if guilty, Jem should face the consequences of his actions, even if it is an obvious case of self-defense. Scout may even have to testify herself. These possibilities are acceptable to Atticus, who could never consider covering up his children's misdeeds with more lies.
"Jem and Scout know what happened. If they hear me saying downtown something different happened--... I can't live one way in town and another way in my home." (Chapter 30)
Atticus places his integrity and belief in justice above all else--even his children--and he is willing to stand beside Jem to answer the questions concerning Bob's death if necessary. It is Tate who finally convinces Atticus that
"Your boy never stabbed Bob Ewell...
"Bob Ewell fell on his knife." (Chapter 30)
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