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"Link, that boy might go to the chair, but he's not going till the truth's told." Atticus's voice was even. "And you know what the truth is." (15.23)
Atticus knows it's more unlikely than a Lindsay Lohan presidency that Tom will be acquitted, and yet getting the truth out there is still an accomplishment—even if we're not quite sure what it'll accomplish.
I walked home with Dill and returned in time to overhear Atticus saying to Aunty, "...in favor of Southern womanhood as much as anybody, but not for preserving polite fiction at the expense of human life," a pronouncement that made me suspect they had been fussing again. (15.39)
By calling Southern womanhood a "polite fiction," Atticus asserts that it's not real—it's just an idea that people at least pretend to believe in to make life run smoother. And what makes for a particularly Southern womanhood? How is being a woman in the south different from being a woman in the north? Are there any "fictions" about being a woman that we still believe?