How does Atticus feel when the verdict is announced?Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As the verdict is announced in Chapter 21 of To Kill a Mockingbird, the reactions of Atticus Finch are devoid of emotion; rather, they are perfunctory.  He snaps his briefcase shut after pushing papers into it, goes to the court recorder and says something, nods to Mr. Gilmer the prosecuting attorney, and then goes to Tom Robinson.  Placing his hand on Tom's shoulder, he says something to Tom, too.  Atticus does not even put on his coat; instead, he throws it over one shoulder and takes the quickest way out of the courtroom without looking up at his children.

Atticus Finch goes through the motions of preparing for an appeal.  He asks for a copy of the transcript of the proceedings, tells Tom that they will appeal the verdict, and nods to the prosecutor.  After these necessary actions, Atticus wants to make a quick getaway from the "disease of Macomb County."  He is disgusted with the verdict; he is ashamed of the men who say that Tom is guilty of sexually assaulting Mayella when they know that he has not.  This disgust and shame are what make him take the quickest route out of the building and what keeps him from looking at his children, who he knows are amazed at the men on the jury.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Atticus is the most unrevealing character we see in To Kill a Mockingbird. He immediately assures Tom that this isn't over yet. Then he walks indifferently down the aisle. Atticus is always unrevealing in the courtroom according to the kids, but this is the first time they have seen so much of him (he sweats, he begins to take off exterior clothes). This reveals that Atticus deeply cares about Tom's well-being, and beyond that justice (not to mention Mayella's well-being). To define him with one emotion would be difficult, but the two that strike me most are disappointed and optimistic. This seems strange because they are opposites, but it's obvious with the jury out so long he had hope that the verdict could possibly go in their favor. On the other hand, he is looking to the future potential appeal.

Shortly thereafter, he is flooded with gracious thankfulness as the black community gave him so much.

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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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He is truly ashamed of the people who degraded Tom Robinson and decided to put him behind bars. In reality this was not Tom's fault, but Maycomb was known as a racist place and because of that Tom was falsely accused. Atticus still feels shame in knowing that people will not let go of the old ways and treat people so disgustingly. 

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