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Scout is beginning to experience conflicts with the townspeople, and even her own family, over Atticus’s role in the Tom Robinson trial. Chapter 9 begins with Scout fighting a classmate on a playground. She tries to make sense of her father’s reasons, and others’ reasons for disagreeing with him and ostracizing her.
“Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one’s mine, I guess. You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down.” (ch 8)
Scout has trouble taking this advice, leading her to conflict with her own cousin. This causes a resulting conflict with her uncle, who does not realize how much the trial is affecting her.
Atticus explains to Scout that there will be inevitable conflict, but they are still part of the town.
“[We’re] fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they’re still our friends and this is still our home.” (ch 8)
This is exemplified previously by the fire at Miss Maudie’s house, where everyone in the town turns out to help. Even if the people are at odds on racial issues, they are still a close-knit town.
Another important conflict in chapter 10 is the arrival of the mad dog. Like the fire, this conflict has symbolic overtones. Atticus bravely faces the dog, as he bravely faces down racism. As the town relies on him in the trial, they rely on him to shoot the dog. No one expects him to be successful, but he is.
The two chapters show the beginning of the rising tensions of the novel. The central incident of Chapter 9 is the fire in Miss Maudie's house, and the writer shows how the whole neighborhood comes together to help her. This will be the last time the town is shown undivided in opinion. The main event of Chapter 10 is the incident of the mad dog, and we see literally Atiicus take down a mad dog, and symbolically speaking, he will be taking down the mad disease of prejudice in later chapters.
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