How Well Does Atticus Feel He Should Defend Tom Robinson
How well does Atticus feel he should defend Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Atticus Finch defends Tom Robinson to the best of his abilities. He defends his client just as well as he would a paying white man, even though it causes social ridicule in Maycomb. In Chapter 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout asks her father about the trial. Some of the kids at school had been criticizing Atticus for taking the case. This makes Scout angry, and she asks her father why he is defending Tom Robinson. Atticus explains his reasons to her:
"For a number of reasons," said Atticus. "The main one is, if I didn’t I couldn't hold up my head in town, I couldn't represent this county in the legislature, I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again."
Even before the trial, Atticus knows that the Tom Robinson case will have an impact on him personally. He tells Scout this. Atticus knows that it is highly unlikely that he will even win the case. Tom has been accused of raping a white woman, which had people in Maycomb enraged. They find it especially appalling that a black man would do such a thing to a white woman. Despite this, Atticus plans to fight hard. He feels that he should put all of his efforts into the case, despite the improbability of him winning it.
Atticus feels that Tom Robinson deserves the best defense possible.
Although Atticus was assigned to defend Tom Robinson, he is planning to give him a good defense. He understands that Tom is not likely to win, no matter how well he defends him. He knows that the color barrier is just too strong. Yet Atticus believes the only moral thing to do is to defend Tom to the best of his ability.
"Before I'm through, I intend to jar the jury a bit- I think we'll have a reasonable chance on appeal, though..”. (ch 9)
Atticus explains to Scout that just because he knows he is not going to win is not a reason not to try. He tells her he could not hold his head up in town, go to church, or tell his children to mind him if he did not at least try to defend Tom. Everyone deserves a fair trial.
Atticus believes strongly in fair trials. He tells the jury that the court of law is the great equalizer. He also knows that Tom is innocent. He believes he is innocent, and he also believes that he will be convicted. He is willing to do whatever he can, even if he loses.