To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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In "To Kill a Mockingbird" what does Atticus do in court that the children never saw him do even at home?  

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus does two things in his closing arguments that Scout has never seen before. First, he loosens his collar and tie and removes his vest and coat. Second, Scout notices that for the first time she's ever witnessed it, Atticus is sweating.

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Atticus understands the tremendous task in front of him as be begins his closing arguments. The likelihood of convincing an all-white jury to free Tom Robinson is a nearly impossible feat. Being a skilled lawyer and an keen judge of character, Atticus realizes that he needs to connect with the jury members in a personal way. Although Scout herself has never witnessed it "before or since, in public or private," Atticus strips off his most formal attire and approaches the jury in the most casual way possible: without his vest and coat and with a loosened collar and tie. In typical Atticus fashion, he formally obtains approval from the judge before doing so. This reveals a great deal about the character of Atticus; even in his...

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