What's really happening when Atticus moves backward toward the porch and the crowd draws in, what is Jem, Atticus, the crowd thinking at this point? in To Kill a Mockingbird
In Chapter 15 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout narrates that in Maycomb men come and stand in the yard for only two reasons: death and politics. So, when the men arrive in the Finch yard, they crowd around Atticus who has stepped out to learn their reason for coming. The children overhear Heck Tate expresses concern that there could be "trouble." The men move in and contribute to the discussion. Link Deas tells Atticus that he has everything to lose by taking Tom Robinson's case. In short, the men seem to threaten Atticus in an attempt to get him to give up the case. But, with great fortitude, Atticus Finch tells Link Deas:
"Link, that boy might go to the chair, but he's not going till the truth told....And you know what the truth is."
Watching from inside, Jem senses the pressure being put upon his father. When the phone rings, Jem calls to Atticus, "...the telepone's ringing!" This interruption breaks the tension and the men depart.