Why does Miss Maudie believe that appointing Atticus as Tom's defense attorney was no accident?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 22 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem experiences great disillusionment with his community and in the way things work out in life. He tells Miss Maudie that he has been like one "in a cocoon: wrapped up in a warm place."

"I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that's what they seemed like."

Miss Maudie adds that the community is rarely called upon to be good Christians, but when this call comes, the community has Atticus to go on their behalf. Jem adds ruefully that he wishes the others in the community felt the same way. But, Miss Maudie contradicts Jem, telling him that the black community supported Tom, as did people such as Sheriff Tate, Judge Taylor, and  Atticus. She asks Jem,

"Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident? That Judge Taylor might have had his reasons for naming him?"

Jem must consider this statement because the latest addition to city defenders, Maxwell Green, should have been given the case. Atticus was appointed because he would do his best to defend Tom and convince the jury of Tom's innocence. Miss Maudie adds that she felt that Atticus still would not win the case; however, she thought to herself that Atticus is the only lawyer who could have kept a jury out so long. So, the town is moving forward.

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