Like many men at the end of the day, besides wanting to news, Atticus enjoys retreating into the other world of the newspaper. He also uses the opened newspaper to shield him while he ponders personal and professional problems that he needs to resolve; with this shield before him, Atticus prevents his children from seeing the consternation on his face.
- In Chapter 2, when Scout is scolded for having been taught to read an improper way, Scout demurs, "Atticus ain't got time to teach me anything." Somebody did. You weren't born reading The Mobile Register." Evidently, then, on those many evenings when his little girl curls up on his lap, Atticus has probably read aloud so that he can both digest the news and pacify her.
- At other times when he is rather disturbed by the events of the day, Atticus shields himself behind his newspaper. For instance, in Chapter 15, after the men who have come to the front yard to ask Atticus to have Tom Robinson's trial moved depart, Atticus reenters his home and goes to his chair and picks up the evening paper. Scout remarks,
I sometimes think Atticus subjected every crisis of his life to tranquil evaluation behind The Mobile Register, The Birmingham News, and The Montgomery Advertiser. [These papers are publications of the major cities of Alabama].
- Further in this same chapter, fearing a lynch mob may come to the jail, Atticus stations himself outside before the cell of Tom Robinson. Sitting on a chair propped against the jailhouse, Atticus shields himself behind the newspaper so that the Old Sarum bunch will not think he is worried.
- In Chapter 22, after the Tom Robinson verdict, Atticus is up early, sitting behind his newspaper, attempting to relax and distract himself for a while from his concerns.