To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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What was Atticus doing at the jail in chapter 15 of "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

In chapter 15 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus heads to the jail late in the evening after being warned by Heck Tate and Link Deas that the Old Sarum gang could be headed Tom's way to cause trouble. Atticus goes to the jail to protect Tom, giving him a chance to prove his innocence in court.

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At the beginning of chapter 15, Heck Tate comes by to warn Atticus that they are preparing to move Tom Robinson to the county jail the next day, and he is worried that there could be trouble that evening. Link Deas adds that he isn't worried about any townspeople, but the Old Sarum gang could give them some trouble. Link comments that he doesn't understand why Atticus touched the case in the first place, and Atticus responds that although Tom may be found guilty and sent to the electric chair, the truth will be told first.

And this is why Atticus goes to the jail that night. He is determined to protect Tom from the very real possibility of the Old Sarum gang showing up to lynch Tom before the trial has a chance to get off the ground, which would forever bury the truth of Bob and Mayella Ewell's lies against Tom. Atticus sees it as his absolute duty as Tom's lawyer to protect him so that he is allowed the opportunity of a fair trial—or at least as fair as is possible in Maycomb.

Atticus's...

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bookworm2009 | Student

He was protecting Tom Robinson from the mob