Why does the crowd appear at the jailhouse in To Kill a Mockingbird?  

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 15 of To Kill a Mockingbird, we see that Sheriff Tate has come to warn Atticus that Tom Robinson my be in danger. Jem and Scout are worried about their father, though the children are still innocent at this point. Scout hears her father talking to the group of men who had come to warn Atticus. Mr. Link Deas is asking why Atticus would take on this case, and Atticus gives him the most honest answer he can.

"Link, that boy might go to the chair, but he's not going till the truth's told." Atticus's voice was even. "And you know what the truth is."

Bob Ewell, Walter Cunnigham and some of the other men from town, are forming a group to go to the jail. Bob Ewell's daughter, Mayella, is the one who has accused Tom of the crime. Bob wants revenge, although he is the one who is guilty. 

In Maycomb, black people were considered the lowest of the low on the social ladder, and if a white person accused a black person of a crime, that black person was going to found guilty. The group of men who come to the jail want to take justice into their own hands. They are at the jailhouse to do harm to Tom. Atticus is quite aware of how these men think. He goes to the jail, knowing what he might have to face. 

"A long extension cord ran between the bars of a second-floor window and down the side of the building. In the light from its bare buld, Atticus was sitting propped against the front door. He was sitting in one of his office chairs, and he was reading, oblivious of the nightbugs dancing over his head."

Atticus did not want Jem and Scout there, but when they run over to him, he soon realizes that Scout is the one who saves them all. Scout with all of her innocence, is the one who breaks up the group. By being kind and showing a genuine interest in the people there, Scout shows the men that this is not the best way to deal with the situation. This chapter begins to show us the real danger that Atticus, Tom, Jem and Scout are going to have to face very soon.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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