What is Atticus's plan to defend Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird?  

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus's first plan concerning Tom Robinson is to give him the best defense possible.

Though Atticus knows Robinson will likely be found guilty, Atticus strives to expose the truth. We see Atticus's determination to reveal the truth when he responds to comments made by members of a group of men, led by Sheriff Heck Tate, gathered outside his home. For example, in reply to Mr. Link Deas's statement that Atticus has "everything to lose from" defending Robinson, Atticus responds by saying, "Do you really think so? ... Link, that boy might go to the chair, but he's not going till the truth's told ... And you know what the truth is" (Ch. 15). By speaking of "truth," Atticus is referring to the fact that evidence shows Bob Ewell is guilty of abusing Mayella, not Robinson.

After Robinson is convicted by the jury, Atticus's next plan of defense is to appeal the case to the higher court. Throughout the book, Atticus argues he thinks he has a "reasonable chance on appeal" (Ch. 9). Even after Robinson is found guilty by his jury, Atticus doesn't stop saying that they have a good chance at appeal. However, Atticus's plans to appeal the court's decision are thwarted when Robinson decides to take matters into his own hands, tries to escape prison, and is mercilessly shot to death.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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