I'm not sure where "flexibility" is mentioned concerning Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird, but the attorney is forced to tiptoe around Mayella during her testimony. Atticus knows that he must treat the subject of Tom's rape delicately while questioning young Mayella, but she immediately has to be cajoled by the judge to answer Atticus' questions since she believes he is "mockin' " her. There is no doubt that Atticus would likely have been much tougher on her, but he recognized that her animosity toward him would have to be lessened. Atticus addressed her politely, but Mayella took his honest, gentlemanly manner as deliberate sarcasm. Nevertheless, Atticus "rained questions" upon her, and Scout saw a look on his face that indicated that his tactics made him sick to his stomach. Likewise, Atticus treated Mayella's father politely and with the same respect he showed all people, though Atticus detested Bob Ewell.