In "To Kill a Mockingbird", why was it a big deal that Atticus stood up for Tom Robinson? What was the problem with Atticus standing up for him? Why did people not agree with it?

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Atticus Finch stood up for Tom Robinson simply because he knew the character of Tom Robinson. Civil Rights as a concept had not yet come to be widely accepted. And in Alabama, it was unheard of that a white lawyer would defend a black man in a case against a white man.

He was ridiculed by his family because he was risking the lives of his children by taking the case. This certainly went against the norms of small-town Alabama in the 1930s--1940s. But it showed a very forward thinking mindset among some individual citizens of the area and South.

Personally after having read the book several times, I think Atticus Finch was disgusted with Burris Ewell and knew a lot about what was going on in his house. Unfortunately, there are things that are not brought out in the book. I think "what if" Mayella turned up pregnant. Whose child would it have been?  Who beat Mayella and caused her bruises?

I think that Atticus would have defended anyone against Burris Ewell.

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