In To Kill a Mockingbird, how does Heck Tate (the sheriff) restrain himself in certain situations?FOR EXAMPLE: when he restrains himself from telling Atticus that it was actually Arthur Radley who...

In To Kill a Mockingbird, how does Heck Tate (the sheriff) restrain himself in certain situations?

FOR EXAMPLE: when he restrains himself from telling Atticus that it was actually Arthur Radley who stabbed Bob Ewell.

GIVE 3 EXAMPLES PLEASE OTHER THAN THE ONE I GAVE

Asked on by jumble123

3 Answers | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Sheriff Heck Tate is a man who restrains his first impulses and defers them to his better judgment.  In Chapter 10 when a mad dog threatens the Finch neighborhood, Sheriff Tate hands his rifle to Atticus--to the surprise of Jem and Scout--saying, "Take him, Mr. Finch....this is a one-shot job!"  Tate knows that Atticus is a better shot than he.

In another episode, in Chapter 17 as Heck Tate testifies in the trial of Tom Robinson, Atticus Finch asks the sheriff about the condition in which he found Mayella after he was called to her home.  Mr. Tate responds to the question of which eye was blackened on Mayella,

It was her right eye, Mr. Finch.  I remember now, she was bunged up on that side of her face...

Then, he blinks as though "something had suddenly been made plain to him."  Turning his head, Mr. Tate looks at Tom Robinson.  Continuing his testimony, the sheriff reports that the girl's arms were bruised and the throat had finger marks all around.  When Atticus asks him if they were at the back of her neck, Mr. Tate replies,

Yes, sir, she had a small throat, anybody could'a reached around it with--

Atticus instructs the sherriff to just answer the question yes or no, and "Mr. Tate fell silent."  Realizing that providing too much information can be as damaging as not giving enough, Sherriff Tate restrains himself.

In the final scenes when Mr. Tate reports to Atticus what has happened to Bob Ewell, he discusses the attack on Jem,trying to calmly explain that Bob Ewell is the kind of man that "ain't worth the bullet it takes to shoot 'em"; he would think nothing of killing Atticus's children. 

Mr. Tate sighed.  'We'd better get on.  Scout, you heard him behind you...'

Tate controls himself in this situation, also, acting with professionalism as he makes inquires about what has transpired with Jem and Scout.

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Heck Tate, the Maycomb sheriff in the Harper Lee novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is one patient, sensible man. In addition to the examples given in the last post, he displays his own common sense when he decides that it must be Atticus who should take down Tim Johnson, the mad dog. When Atticus initially refuses, Tate "almost through the rifle at Atticus." But he calmly convinces Mr. Finch that "I'd feel mighty comfortable if you did now."

Sheriff Tate displays his sensible nature again in hunting down the pranksters who "stole" the furniture from the home of Misses Tutti and Frutti. He brought out the bloodhounds when he could track down no leads on his own, and when they went round in circles, the sheriff deduced that the basement should be searched. There he found the missing furniture. 

peacefullhippie's profile pic

peacefullhippie | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

no, thank you.

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question