To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird Fear Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (chapter.paragraph)
"In the second place, they're afraid. Then, they're-"
"Afraid, why?" asked Jem.
"Well, what if—say, Mr. Link Deas had to decide the amount of damages to award, say, Miss Maudie, when Miss Rachel ran over her with a car. Link wouldn't like the thought of losing either lady's business at his store, would he? So he tells Judge Taylor that he can't serve on the jury because he doesn't have anybody to keep store for him while he's gone. […]
"Serving on a jury forces a man to make up his mind and declare himself about something. Men don't like to do that. Sometimes it's unpleasant." (23.47-52)
Atticus suggests that it's not just the actual fallout they would have to face from the community that keeps Maycomb's residents with background, as Miss Maudie would say, from serving on juries, but also fear of publicly taking a stand. Maybe this fear also influenced Tom's jury—declaring an opinion that goes against the common view can be pretty scary.
Mr. Ewell kept the same distance behind her until she reached Mr. Link Deas's house. All the way to the house, Helen said, she heard a soft voice behind her, crooning foul words. Thoroughly frightened, she telephoned Mr. Link at his store, which was not too far from his house. As Mr. Link came out of his store he saw Mr. Ewell leaning on the fence. Mr. Ewell said, "Don't you look at me, Link Deas, like I was dirt. I ain't jumped your-" […]
"You don't have to touch her, all you have to do is make her afraid, an' if assault ain't enough to keep you locked up awhile, I'll get you in on the Ladies' Law, so get outa my sight! If you don't think I mean it, just bother that girl again!" (27.8, 12)
For Ewell, it's all about power—by scaring Helen he's declaring his power over her, but Deas is even scarier: he's got reputation and power in Maycomb, so he wins this round. Sometimes there are good reasons to be on the right side of the law.
"It is a scary place though, ain't it?" I said. "Boo doesn't mean anybody any harm, but I'm right glad you're along." […] "Ain't you scared of haints?"
We laughed. Haints, Hot Steams, incantations, secret signs, had vanished with our years as mist with sunrise. (28.3-7)
LOL. Weren't we silly when we were little? You know, all of two or three years ago? Jem and Scout may be chuckling about their childish fears, but there are still real things to be scared of—and now they're not just "haints," but real, murderous adult men. With knives.