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Atticus admits that taking on the defense of Tom Robinson was a case he had hoped he would never have to accept. Atticus did not seek to represent Tom; instead, he was asked by Judge John Taylor to take the case, since the judge knew that Tom would receive better representation from Atticus than from the normal public defender. Atticus knew that many members of the town would not be happy with him defending a black man accused of raping a white woman; he also knew that his family might be outcast and possibly even subject to threats or other dangers from the town. Scout had to deal with insults at school, and the children heard whispering about the family on the streets of Maycomb. Atticus faced injury and even death on the night the lynch mob came to take Tom from the jail. Afterward, he was subject to more scorn and gossip (ex: the missionary circle tea). Bob Ewell made threats against Atticus and his family, and Bob even paid a visit to Judge Taylor's house after dark. Although Atticus tried to assure his family that they were safe, Bob's actions on the fateful Halloween night showed just how far he would go to get revenge on Atticus.
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