In To Kill a Mockingbird, I was wondering how the black people feel about Atticus Finch, related to the phrase "actions speak louder than words"?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question is probably referring to the trial of Tom Robinson; after the verdict was read, the black people weren't upset that Atticus had lost.  They were grateful for everything that Atticus had done for Tom; they knew what a difficult and losing battle defending Tom had been, and Atticus did such a good job.  They respected that, and held him in reverence and awe.  To show this awe, as Atticus leaves the courthouse after the guilty verdict, as he passes, "all around us and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet."  So, as Atticus passed, to show him their respect and reverence, they stood up.  This is a practice as old as time; when someone of high power or authority enters a room, people stand to acknowledge their presence.  So, they didn't say anything, they just stood to show their appreciation.

Later, at the Finch household, they discover that "the kitchen table was loaded with enough food to bury the family."  The black people, to show their appreciation, came by and paid their respects any way they could, and that way was by food.  They wanted to show him that they were grateful for what he had done, so they give him their best food as a thank you.  This gesture, especially during the depression, was significant.  Atticus understands this gesture and is touched  by it:  "Atticus's eyes filled with tears" as he told Cal to tell them all that he appreciated it.  So once again they showed their respect for him, through actions.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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