Who can people trust in To Kill a Mockingbird's Maycomb, Alabama?

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Atticus Finch is the number one most trusted person in Maycomb county because of the responsibilities placed on his shoulders and by the way he carries out any task placed before him. He also never gossips about anyone or provokes anyone to a fight, and he's meek and humble. Not...

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Atticus Finch is the number one most trusted person in Maycomb county because of the responsibilities placed on his shoulders and by the way he carries out any task placed before him. He also never gossips about anyone or provokes anyone to a fight, and he's meek and humble. Not only is he highly educated and intelligent as well, but he's a good father. Scout and Miss Maudie discuss Atticus's trusted character in chapter 5, and both come up with the same statement to describe him. Scout says, "Atticus don't ever do anything to Jem and me in the house that he don't do in the yard," and Miss Maudie similarly echoes, "Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets" (46). These statements come on the heels of Miss Maudie discussing the fact that other people in Maycomb have secrets, but Atticus doesn't, which is one reason he can be trusted.

Another reason Atticus can be trusted is that he doesn't hold grudges. For example, in chapter 11, Mrs. Dubose is verbally disrespectful to Atticus and his children, but he still draws up her will, speaks well of her, and teaches his children to respect her. People know that no matter what they do, Atticus won't belittle them or be condescending in any way—he's above such things.

Finally, Miss Maudie's tribute to Atticus can only be summed up by her own words:

"We're the safest folks in the world . . . We're so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we've got men like Atticus to go for us" (215).

It's as if Atticus is the only man in the whole town who never does anything wrong and is trusted enough to bear the people of Maycomb's burdens and stand up for what is right.

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The one person that the people of To Kill a Mockingbird's Maycomb can trust is Atticus Finch. He is the person that people seek when they need legal representation, knowing he will not demand payment immediately if they don't have it (ex: Walter Cunningham Sr.). He is the man that Judge Taylor turns to when he seeks the best legal defense for Tom Robinson. He is voted Maycomb's representative to the Alabama legislature each election--without opposition. He is the man to whom Sheriff Tate hands his rifle when only one shot can be taken. His children turn to him for advice--even as adults--and his neighbors recognize that he is the moral conscience of the town. Miss Maudie states it best:

"Whether Maycomb knows it or not, we're paying the highest tribute we can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It's that simple."

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Mistrust is one of the minor themes of To Kill a Mockingbird, and many of the characters are found to be wanting of trustworthiness. Jem misleads Scout on several occasions; Miss Stephanie's gossip is far from accurate; her Missionary Circle friends are found to be two-faced; and Scout's teachers, Miss Caroline and Miss Gates, are far from perfect. Miss Maudie and Tom Robinson are two of the more reliable characters in the novel. But the one person that everyone in the town can trust is Atticus Finch. Miss Maudie reminds Jem and Scout of this on several occasions, particularly after the Tom Robinson trial. She tells them that some people are born to do undesirable things, and Atticus is one of them. The people of Maycomb may not always agree with Atticus, but they can always trust him. After all, he always runs unopposed for the local seat in the Alabama legislature.

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The reader will find that there are several trustworthy characters in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Whether other people in Maycomb will agree with the reader's point of view is a different story.

Atticus Finch is probably the most trustworthy man in the entire county of Maycomb.  He stands up for what he believes is right, even to the extent where he is shunned by some members of his community for taking the "wrong" side.  He does his best to give Tom Robinson a strong defense in a trial that was doomed to end in a conviction because of the color of Tom Robinson's skin.  Even so, Atticus hoped to take the case to a higher court and win, proving that he intended to stay by Tom's side throughout the ordeal.  He also allows his other clients to pay him in whatever means they have for his services.  Mr. Cunningham pays in hickory nuts and other produce in exchange for Atticus' fair service in an entailment case.

Miss Maudie is also trustworthy, and she acts as a confidant to Scout.  She does not exhibit hypocritical racist behavior, unlike many of the women in the Missionary Society.  Sadly, the town zealots ridicule Miss Maudie for not going to church, even though Miss Maudie is well versed in what the Bible has to say.

Calpurnia is also trustworthy and does her best to help raise Scout and Jem to become fine adults.  Some people in town criticize Atticus for hiring a black woman to help rear his children, though.

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