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In Chapter 11 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus has been subjected to much criticism regarding the forthcoming trial for Tom Robinson. Jem finally snaps under the stress of hearing Mrs. Dubose's insults, and he cuts the tops off her camellias. As punishment, Jem must read to Mrs. Dubose; in addition, Atticus talks with the children about how they
conduct [themselves] when the chips are down....This case, Tom Robinson's case, is something that goes to the essence of a man's conscience--
When Scout tells him that he must be wrong because so many others seem to thing that they are right, Atticus advises her,
They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions...but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.
Atticus advises his children to follow their consciences regardless of how many others condone the wrong path. Majority rule does not mitigate the wrong in any way. Right is still right, regardless, because one's conscience knows what is right.
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