To Kill a Mockingbird

Chapter 9 To Kill A Mockingbird

How well does Atticus feel he should defend Tom Robinson? What are his reasons? 

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When Scout asks Atticus why he's still defending Tom Robinson, even if people don't want him to, Atticus responds that if he didn't take the case, he wouldn't be able to "hold up my head in town," represent his county in the legislature, or even tell his children what to do. Atticus explains that every lawyer gets at least one case in a lifetime that affects them personally, and that this one is his. He tells Scout to keep her cool no matter what anyone says, and fight with her head, not her hands. Scout asks if he's going to win the case and Atticus says no, but "simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win."