Although Atticus knows that defending Tom Robinson will bring much hardship to himself and his family, he takes the case anyway. Why? What reasons does he give? When does he address this question?
I’ve taken Tom Robinson’s case, even though I know that it will cause much trouble for our family, especially for Jem and Scout. However, I knew that I had to take to take the case, because not only do I like to think of myself as one who honors what is right (and defending the innocent is most definitely right), but also because I couldn’t face the world if I hadn’t taken the case. I would have felt as though I was running from a case that I couldn’t win, and I am determined to love everyone, blacks and whites, equally. When Judge asked me to take it, and I knew I had too…just got a sense of duty right then and there. I know that if I didn’t take the case, I wouldn’t be able to face my children, or tell them to mind me, ever again.
Scout asked me why I took the case, after Cecil Jacobs had been bothering her about it. I simply told her that by nature of the work, every lawyer has one case that changes them personally, every lawyer. I don’t believe that there’s ever been an exception. I told Scout to keep her head high, and not to let the others bother her about me taking the case, but I’m worried about her, she can’t resist fighting and to her, anyone who says something bad about her family had better watch out. I told her to fight with her head, not her fists…but I’m worried about her. I know that she’ll try to mind me, but there is always the exception, the one time where it gets to be too much and she feels that she has to defend me and our family’s pride through a fight. It's going to be hard for us all, but we must try.