In To Kill a Mockingbird, what is Atticus’s relationship to the rest of Maycomb and what is his role in the community?

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bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In addition to being an attorney, Atticus is also Maycomb's representative to the Alabama state legislature in Montgomery. Atticus runs unopposed each election, and this fact probably better illustrates his stature and importance to the town than any other single statement in To Kill a Mockingbird. People may not always agree with Atticus' decisions, especially when he decides to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman, but the town knows they have no better man to represent them. He is hand-picked by Judge Taylor for the important trial instead of the usual public defender, Maxwell Green, and the people know Atticus will do his best to prove Tom innocent.

     "... you know the court appointed him to defend this nigger."
     "Yeah, but Atticus aims to defend him. That's what I don't like about it."

Maudie explains to Jem that some people

"... were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father's one of them."

Maudie adds that

"We're so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we've got men like Atticus to go for us."

Even Dolphus Raymond recognizes Atticus' importance. He tells Scout that

"... you don't know that your pa's not a run-of-the-mill man, it'll take a few years for that to sink in..."

And Atticus' standing with the black community is evident: They stand in his honor following the trial and send him baskets of food as a way of thanking him for his staunch defense.

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cristianoswag5 | eNotes Newbie

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Atticus is the Town of  general lawyer. He is an upstanding and respected member of the community raising his two children. When a friend is accused of the crime of murder, he defends him. Because the man accused is Black, it causes problems for Atticus and the children with the community.

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cjohns9's profile pic

cjohns9 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Atticus is the Town of  general lawyer. He is an upstanding and respected member of the community raising his two children. When a friend is accused of the crime of murder, he defends him. Because the man accused is Black, it causes problems for Atticus and the children with the community.

 Does this help?

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