To Kill a Mockingbird

How do the adults deal with the outcome of the trial? What do their coping mechanisms reveal about each other.

Chapter 22 (Atticus, Miss Rachel, Calpurnia, Aunt Alexandra, Miss Stephanie, Miss Maudie, Bob Ewell)

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In Chapter 22, Atticus reaches a point of frustration immediately after the trial, but his usual optimism returns the next day when he begins talking about the chance for an appeal.

Though he acknowledges that, "they'll do it again," and understands the reality that evil will always persist in some form, he seems to need to believe that there is hope for the future and the inherent goodness of mankind in order to keep himself going. Exhausted and pessimistic the night after the trial, he seems restored the next morning, as if his ability to exist and his hope are closely intertwined.

Miss Maudie makes Jem aware of an entire network of people who were quietly working in Tom's favor. Her use of the word "we" to represent them not only creates the sense that there is a cohesive group with a communal vision, but also makes the children feel like they are now included as a part of it. The trial has affected their lives in many ways, and now they are aware that they are by default going to part of the ongoing aim of taking "steps" toward fairness and equality.

Aunt Alexandra is humbled and truly sorry for Atticus' failure.

“I’m sorry, brother,” she murmured. Having never heard her call Atticus “brother” before, I stole a glance at Jem, but he was not listening."

Miss Stephanie was a busy body and a gossip.

"Miss Stephanie’s nose quivered with curiosity. She wanted to know who all gave us permission to go to court—she didn’t see us but it was all over town this morning that we were in the Colored balcony. Did Atticus put us up there as a sort of—? Wasn’t it right close up there with all those—? Did Scout understand all the—? Didn’t it make us mad to see our daddy beat?"


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