Is there any description of Heck Tate in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Heck Tate is the sheriff of Maycomb County. He is described as a tallish man with a long nose. He also wore a lumber jacket and had a belt with bullets. All of this reminds the reader of a veritable cowboy. He also carried a rifle, but later in the book he admits that he was not a great shot. This is why he asked Atticus to take down the mad dog. Here is a quote that describes Heck Tate:

He was as tall as Atticus, but thinner. He was long-nosed, wore boots with shiny metal eye-holes, boot pants and a lumber jacket. His belt had a row of bullets sticking in it. He carried a heavy rifle. 

The more important information about Heck is that he is one of the "good guys." He was not blinded by racism like the others in Maycomb. For example, at the end of the book, he sought to protect Boo Radley by saying that Bob Ewell fell on this knife, when he knew that Boo probably killed him trying to protect Scout and Jem. He famously says: "The the dead bury the dead." 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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