What part is played in To Kill a Mockingbird by Mr. Underwood, editor of The Maycomb Tribune?  I know he is the editor of the Maycomb newpaper, but what what else happens with him in the book?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Braxton Bragg Underwood is one of the most unusual characters in the novel. Named after one of the Confederacy's most inept generals (Braxton Bragg) in "a fey fit of humor" by his father, Underwood is the owner, publisher and editor of The Maycomb Tribune. He spends most of his time in the newspaper office, trying to live down his name and sipping on his ever-present jug of cherry wine. Underwood is known to hate black men and women--according to Atticus,

"He despises Negroes, won't have one near him."  (Chapter 16)

Yet, Underwood is a fair man, and he believes in truth and justice. When Atticus is confronted by the lynch mob who wants to take Tom from the jail, it is Underwood who silently stands guard with his shotgun in case Atticus needs him.

"Had you covered all the time, Atticus."  (Chapter 15)

The jury verdict, and especially Tom's death, infuriates Underwood, whose "bitter" and "poetical" editorial condemns the jury and

... likened Tom's death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.  (Chapter 25)

Underwood is a rarity in Maycomb: an avowed racist, he nevertheless represents the voice of fairness and reason, defending the black man when his sense of justice demands it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial