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Reagan Brown
Mrs. Blair
Honors English II
10 December 2012
Selflessness
Edmund Burke writes, “He well knows what snares are spread about his path, from personal animosity… and possibly from popular delusion. But he has put to hazard his ease, his security, his interest, his power, even… popularity… He is traduced and abused for his supposed motives. He will remember that obloquy is a necessary ingredient in the composition of all true glory: he will remember… that calumny and abuse are essential parts of triumph…” Burke’s quote specifically describes the role Atticus Finch plays in To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus sets aside the community’s prejudice accusations and their effects on his family in order to save the life of an innocent black man, Tom Robinson. Atticus risks his personal and family security, power and popularity, is abused for his supposed motives, and knows that obloquy is required for true glory.

Knowing that Maycomb is a prejudice community, Atticus knows his and his family’s security is at risk. Bob Ewell is the man who accuses Tom Robinson of the rape of his daughter, Mayella. Ewell makes many threats before, during and after the trial, but Atticus believes Ewell will never follow through with his threats. Atticus is spit on by Ewell, but Ewell does nothing else to Atticus. Atticus’ belief is sadly mistaken when one night Ewell goes after his children, Jem and Scout. Jem and Scout are saved by their neighbor, Boo who kills Ewell in self-defense while saving them. By Atticus defending Robinson, his and his family’s security is put at risk.

The power Atticus has in Maycomb before being appointed to Robinson’s case is overwhelming, but Atticus’ power ends when he decides to defend Robinson. The people of Maycomb see Atticus defending Robinson as a sin because Robinson is black. Mobs and individuals come at Atticus because he is defending Robinson. Since Atticus’ power shrinks, his popularity did as well. Although after the...
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