Which characters have the courage to break society's code of ethics in To Kill a Mockingbird? Explain.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dolphus Raymond may be the best example of a character showing the courage to break Maycomb society's code of ethic. Raymond is a wealthy white man who owns land along the river and who hails from an old Maycomb family. The night before he was to be married, Dolphus's fiance killed herself after finding out that he had a Negro mistress. After Dolphus moves in with his mistress and they bear "mixed chillun'," the people of Maycomb become convinced that he is mentally unstable and a drunkard. But Dolphus sees things more clearly than most people, and he chooses to live his life in a mostly-black world because he cries

"... about the simple hell people give other people--without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think that they're people, too."  (Chapter 20

Atticus, of course, breaks many moral codes when he agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman. Atticus knows that this decision will lose him friends, make new enemies, and perhaps even endanger the lives of his family. But Atticus's conscience does not allow him to consider a way out. More importantly,

"... do you think I could face my children otherwise?"  (Chapter 9)

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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