What are three adjectives that discribe Heck Tate from the book To Kill a Mockingbird?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You could certainly get several different answers to this question as it is purely a matter of opinion, but here is how I would characterize Heck Tate:

"Local": as the sheriff of Maycomb County, he dresses, acts, and speaks the part.  He is well known and well respected by most.  He knows and respects Atticus and does his best to support him throughout the trial (gives warning of the upcoming mob incident, testifies honestly, etc).  He is also a "local boy" in that he knows his town and he knows the prejudice that exists.  He does his best to be honest and just, but he is not a revolutionary.  He does not necessarily attempt to stir anything up nor be a leader of change.

"Humble/polite": Heck Tate is not a glory seeking sheriff.  This is evident by the way he speaks to people with respect even though he is the sheriff and isn't necessarily required to do this for anyone.  It is also shown in the quiet evening he is home (instead of at church where most go to socialize) when his house is vandalized.  His testimony at the trial also reveals his humility.  Though he is well known in the town, he is almost embarrassed to be speaking in front of everyone, and so he looks down at his knees.

"Sensitive": Heck Tate certainly shows sensitivity toward the case and toward Tom Robinson and Atticus in his support.  The best evidence of his sensitivity however, comes at the very end of the novel when he refuses to blame Boo Radley for Bob Ewell's death.

For more on Heck Tate, a couple of chapters that might help you to review are Chapter 10 (The Mad Dog Incident), Chapter 17 (Tate's Testimony), and Chapter 31 (Boo Radley Incident).

pewee101 | Student
  1. i would say he is quite intelligent to some extent, furthermore adventurous as well. This book is fantastic and is meaningful, showing the righs of a man. i would give it 15 out of 5. The book to read.


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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