To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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What are three quotes that show Atticus is determined to defend Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Three quotes that show Atticus is determined to defend Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird are when Atticus says that he is against "preserving polite fiction at the expense of human life," when he insists that Tom will not die until "the truth's told," and when he takes the radical position in court that while some black people might be immoral, this is "a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men."

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When Scout questions Atticus about his role in the Tom Robinson trial, Atticus says the following to her, showing that he is determined to offer Robinson the best defense he can, because it is the right thing to do:

Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.

Atticus is clearly under pressure from Aunt Alexandra not to fight too hard for Tom Robinson—pressure he deflects by saying the following, which Scout hears:

I walked home with Dill and returned in time to overhear Atticus saying to Aunty, “. . . in favor of Southern womanhood as much as anybody, but not for preserving polite fiction at the expense of human life,” a pronouncement that made me suspect they had been fussing again.

During his closing arguments, Atticus shows his determination to do more than a mock defense of Tom Robinson by pointing out the truth that whites and blacks share a common humanity. Whites can lie and blacks can tell the truth, for all that the racist...

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