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In addition to being a lawyer, Atticus enjoys being a father to Jem and Scout. When Jem and Scout found out that their father would be defending a black person, they knew immediately that there would be much controversy, humiliation from the people of Maycomb and great difficulty keeping Tom alive for the trial. It was not long when Atticus had to leave the house very late to go to jail, where Tom was kept because many white people wanted to kill him. Worrying about their father, Jem and Scout sneak out of the house to find him. A self-appointed lynch mob has gathered on the jail to take justice into their own hands. Scout decides to talk to Walter Cunningham, one of the members of the mob. She talks about how her father Atticus thought that "entailments are bad "(154 ) " and that his boy Walter is a real nice boy and tell him I said hey"(154). Upon hearing this, the mob realized that Atticus cannot be all bad if he has such a nice daughter as Scout. Atticus, with some unexpected help from his children, faces down the mob and cause them to break up the potential lynching of the man behind bars. Having gone to a black church earlier, the children found out that Tom is actually a kind person, church-going and a good husband and father to his children.
The town of Maycomb in the 1930's was split into two sections, the white section and the black section. This was a time of racial segregation, where blacks were not permitted to go to the same schools as the whites.
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Atticus needed to prove to himself that, no matter what anyone else thought, he would try his best to defend Tom Robinson, regardless of Tom's color. According to Jem, this trial was "the most excitin' thing that ever happened in this town!" (159). The courthouse was filled. During the trial, Tom was accused of having raped Mayella Ewell, a white woman. She had been beaten on her right side of her face and had bruises on her arm and neck. When she finished her testimony, Atticus took over. The respected and incorruptible Atticus quickly becomes embroiled in a hostile world of hatred and prejudice. He bravely proves the innocence of his client in a final, low-keyed defense summation to the jury. No one knew that Tom did not have a left hand and the bruises on Mayella's face were on her right side so he could not have beat her. "His left arm was fully twelve inches shorter than his right, and hung dead at his side"(186). Atticus uses the testimony about Tom's useless left hand to illustrate that, the white girl Mayella could not have been struck by Tom Robinson. She was savagely struck, beaten, and raped by someone who was left-handed, most likely by her father, Bob Ewell. "You are left-handed, Mr. Ewell" (177) said judge Taylor to Mayella's father, after he was asked by Atticus to write his name on an envelope. Atticus vigorously and powerfully argues that Mayella lied because she broke a code that prohibits a white woman from becoming sexually attracted to a black man, which was an unspeakable offense. Atticus proved to the jury, without a shadow of a doubt, that Tom was innocent. Unfortunately, the jury found Tom guilty, as charged, because of the color of his skin. Everyone was astonished about the outcome of the verdict.
In the town of Maycomb many exciting events occurred, though not all of them good, which changed it forever. Jem and Scout learned that you could not always believe everything you hear. The town was made aware that, although Tom was black, Atticus still did his best to defend him. The black people of Maycomb were very thankful that he went past his color and tried to save Tom. Most importantly, Atticus proved to his children, the townspeople and himself that all men are created equal and should be given the same respect as everyone else.