I need everything there is to know about Heck Tate from To Kill a Mockingbird?I have to do a monologue on Chapter 21, just before the jury returns their verdict on Tom Robinson, and Heck Tate is...

I need everything there is to know about Heck Tate from To Kill a Mockingbird?

I have to do a monologue on Chapter 21, just before the jury returns their verdict on Tom Robinson, and Heck Tate is talking to Atticus Finch.

It has to be Heck Tate examining his own involvement in the sequence of events leading to this moment and the nature of justice in Maycomb County.

Asked on by cjgarde

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

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Sheriff Heck Tate only appears in a few chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird, but they are among the most memorable and pivotal of the novel. Tate first appears in Chapter 10 when he is called in to take care of the mad dog, Tim Johnson. Tate is described as

... tall as Atticus, but thinner. He was long-nosed, wore boots with shiny metal eye-holes, boot pants and a lumber jacket.

Although there is no mistake that Tate is in charge, he nevertheless hands his rifle to Atticus to finish off the dog, nearly causing Jem and Scout to faint. But Tate knows Atticus' secret--that he is the finest marksman in the county--so Tate wisely chooses the best man for the job. 

In his testimony during the Tom Robinson trial, we find that Tate is competent but unremarkable. He reports the facts of the case, but we find that he fails to have Mayella checked by a doctor; and he does not recognize that the bruises on her right eye could only have been made by a left-handed man.

In Chapters 28-30, Heck takes the spotlight. He manages to set the record straight for Atticus, who incorrectly believes at first that Jem has killed Bob Ewell. His humane nature is evident at the end, when he decides to falsely declare that Bob has died of a self-inflicted wound instead of bringing the reclusive Boo Radley into the "limelight" of an investigation. Atticus and Scout agree afterward that it was the right thing to do.

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