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Tom Robinson has been arrested for the alleged rape of Mayella Ewell and is in jail. Atticus sets up a chair and lamp outside the courthouse jail to protect Tom. Atticus knows that there is a possibility that a lynch mob will form to forgo a trial, and he is right. Scout follows Atticus to the courthouse because she, too, feels that something is going on. When the lynch mob approaches Atticus, he attempts to talk them down. Scout steps in and asks Atticus what is going on. She also sees Mr. Cunningham, Walter’s father, in the crowd. Scout says, “Hey” to Mr. Cunningham and tells him that she goes to school with Walter.
Scout diffuses the angry mob first because she is an innocent in the situation who reminds the other men of their own children. Also, by Scout pointing out Mr. Cunningham, she successfully reduces the mob to a group of individuals. Alone, the individual men would not have been there, but as a mob, they gain power from each other. Scout successfully puts down the possible lynching without knowledge of what the men are doing, yet she is able to play upon their emotions by being a young, innocent girl who makes them feel ashamed of their actions.
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