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to kill a mockingbird

What clues foreshadow that Atticus is going to the jailhouse in To Kill a Mockingbird?


In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, the first foreshadowing clue that Atticus will need to go to the jail occurs when Sheriff Tate mentions the jail and says he is worried. Standing out on Atticus's lawn with a group of other men, Sheriff Tate explains that Robinson is being moved from the state prison to the county jail, and Tate is worried the town will cause trouble:

... movin' him to the county jail tomorrow ... I don't look for any trouble, but I can't guarantee there won't be any ... . (Ch. 15)

A second instance of foreshadowing occurs the moment when Scout observes men talking to Atticus in the churchyard that Sunday, men who are not usually seen at church such as Sheriff Tate and Mr. Underwood. In addition, Atticus enters the church saying that "they'd moved Tom Robinson to the Maycomb jail ... and if they'd kept him there in the first place there wouldn't have been any fuss." This additional reference to the jail foreshadows for the reader that the town is expecting trouble at the jail, and Atticus must go there to protect Robinson. Hence, when Atticus leaves the house later that night carrying a light bulb and extension cord, objects he doesn't usually carry, the reader knows these objects are part of his plan for defending Robinson in the jail.

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