To Kill a Mockingbird

Why do Heck Tate and Atticus argue over the incident between Jem and Bob Ewell? What are the points each of the men are making?

From chapters 9-16.

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In Chapter 30, Atticus is trying to uphold the law by demanding that Jem be brought to trial for the crime of murdering Mr. Ewell, not realizing that the sheriff is trying to protect Boo. As seen before in the case of the Ewell's, who are allowed to hunt in season, the law must be bent in order to protect certain people; in this case Boo needs protection. When Atticus understands the sheriff's motivation, he relents, realizing that it is in everyone's best interests to allow Boo to unofficially punish the Ewell's for the crime of trying to send Tom to his death. By this point, the "mockingbird" theme has already been made clear, but this chapter rehashes the idea that the innocent should not suffer in the hands of the powerful. When Scout compares putting Boo on trial to shooting a mockingbird, she again demonstrates her newfound maturity and adult understanding. Scout understands it is necessary to prevent Boo from receiving excessive public attention, and that Boo should be allowed to live the quiet life he has always known. She knows that at heart, Boo is a good person.