In Chapter 9 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, in what way does the following statement made by Atticus show he believes in destiny: [E]very lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime...

In Chapter 9 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, in what way does the following statement made by Atticus show he believes in destiny:

[E]very lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one's mine.

 

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 9 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout confronts her father because she feels she has been insulted at school due to a case he has taken. Specifically, Scout feels she has been insulted by Cecil Jacobs who demanded to know why her father defends "niggers." Feeling confused because she thinks, based on Cecil's comment, that defending "niggers" is a bad thing, she confronts her father. Atticus makes the following statement as part of his response to explain why he decided to take Tom Robinson's case:

[E]very lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally.

The above statement shows a great deal about Atticus's characterization.

The term destiny can be defined as the belief that an event in a person's life is inevitable and determined by a power, like God, external to the person. In the above statement, Atticus is claiming that all lawyers, regardless of who they are or where they are, get a case that deeply affects who they are as people. If Atticus believes that all lawyers get such a case, then he believes that the lives of lawyers are guided by something external to the lawyers and that their profession makes it inevitable for them to get such a case. To believe in inevitability is to believe in destiny. Therefore, Atticus is claiming he believes it is the destiny of all lawyers to get a case that deeply affects them, which shows us his belief in destiny.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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