What evidence indicates that the townspeople had mixed feelings about Atticus after the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird (Chapters 26-31)?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Most of the specific quotes concerning the townspeople's feelings about Atticus and the trial can be found in earlier chapters, but the children become aware that the town hasn't completely forgotten Tom Robinson. Atticus assures Jem and Scout that "things had a way of settling down," but the trial still

... hung over us like smoke in a crowded room. The adults in Maycomb never discussed the case with Jem and me; it seemed that they discussed it with their children and their attitude must have been that neither of us could help having Atticus for a parent, so their children must be nice to us in spite of him.  (Chapter 26)

Scout remembers the conversation she has overheard between Miss Stephanie and Miss Gates and how, because of the trial, the Negroes are "gettin' way above themselves." Bob Ewell has not forgotten things, of course: He blames Atticus for "gettin' his job" when he is fired "from the WPA for laziness." Bob is nearly caught prowling about Judge Taylor's house, and Bob stalks and "crooned foul words" to Tom's widow, Helen, before he is threatened with arrest. Cecil Jacobs questions Scout about Atticus being "a Radical," which amuses her father.

In the final chapters, we find that Bob's hatred for Atticus extends to his children; and that Sheriff Tate is willing to part with the truth and employ his own form of justice when he decides to call Bob's death self-inflicted. Tate consider's Boo's killing of Bob "a great service" to the town.

"Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr. Finch. Let the dead bury the dead."  (Chapter 30)

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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