When she goes to the trial of Tom Robinson, she realizes that even though there is no evidence and the witnesses are unreliable, the verdict is still guilty. She realizes that if Tom Robinson were white though, he would be released and might not have even gone to trial.”’They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it-seems that only children weep’” (page 285). Here, Atticus is explaining how unremorseful the jurors are about how they racially discriminate against African American people. Scout’s views on people changes after the trial as she realizes how their decisions are wrong and they shouldn’t judge people like
As Atticus decides to defend Tom Robinson, who is a black man. Many citizens of Maycomb don't understand his choices for doing so. Atticus is questioned by Scout, she asks him “If you shouldn’t be defendin’ him, then why are you doing it?” Scout says that to Atticus because people from Scouts school have been telling her that defending a black man is a negative thing to do. By asking Atticus this, it shows that others see black people as lower class compared to others. As the majority of Maycomb see them that way, they don't understand why Atticus should and would defend them. Atticus sees the whole situation as him just “Simply defending a Negro,” because he sees everyone nas an equal which everyone else should too. As the citizens of Maycomb don't understand why Atticus is defending Tom, some finally start to see the trial just like Atticus. In chapter 15, a mob is called upon Atticus for defending Tom. It is led by Mr. Cunningham, who has a son named Walter, which Scout goes to school with. While the mob is after Atticus because of him defending Tom, Scout is able to stop the mob. She stops the mob by telling Mr. Cunningham about his son and how Atticus has helped their family, which then calms him down to see the mob isn't right. As Scout’s kindness towards Mr. Cunningham helps him decide to call off the mobs, it also helps him to see Atticus is a good person for defending and helping Tom Robinson because Atticus did the same towards him. Atticus’ choice to defend and help black people is hard to understand for many, butin the end it is important to realise why he choses to defend
Following the occurrence at the jail came the actual trial of Tom Robinson. During the trial Scout felt an assurance that Tom would be set free. After all, no solid evidence that Tom’d committed the crime had surfaced. However any hope that the townsfolk would make up for their prejudice vanished when the guilty verdict was read. “It was like watching Atticus walking to the street raise a rifle to his shoulder and pulled the trigger but watching all the time knowing the gun was empty.” (Lee 211) In this quote Scout compares the trial to the mad-dog incident, indicating that she understands Atticus 's bravery in that she knows he never had a chance at overcoming Maycomb 's prejudice. Scout demonstrates a new understanding of Maycomb in that she is able to
Race is the dominant cause of inequality in To Kill A Mockingbird, thus Maycomb’s views on race heavily influence every aspect of life. Although racial inequality is clearly illustrated in the in the injustice, prejudice, discrimination and antagonism surrounding the Tom Robinson trial, it is also shown more subtly throughout the novel. In chapter 25 Atticus Finch is quoted disclosing that the corrupt justice system is a direct cause of a racist society. “In our courts, when it's a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins” (Pg 295). To emphasize, on the same occasion Atticus attempts to explain to his children how widely spread racism is, “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men everyday of your life”
Maycomb's unjust beliefs on race determined the outcome of Tom Robinson's trail. Atticus´s defence was more than enough to set Tom free, but Maycomb's ignorance and narrow-minded view on African Americans set an innocent man to jail. Atticus told Jem "If you had been on that jury, son, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a free man" (Lee 295). The jury members had been affected by the ignorance of society. They convicted Tom because when they grow up they learned racists beliefs and they do not know any other way. In Maycomb, racism is a normal part of everyday life. When kids at Scouts school call Atticus a n***** lover. Atticus explains to Scout what it means, "Scout," said Atticus, "n*****-lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything—like snot-nose. It's hard to explain—ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody's favoring Negroes over and above themselves.¨ (144). The racists views and attitudes determined the guilty verdict of Tom. In Atticus closing argument, he says "She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man¨(272). Society has a set of rules which are not written but known, these rules tend to be ignorant and impartial. When it comes to race and the misguided beliefs about race, there is a profusion of ignorance. The expectations on race set by society affect the actions and events of life.
In the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” Scout Finch is the narrator (DBQ Project, p.7). She tells about the different things that happened in the town of Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930s (DBQ Project, p.7). She also talked about the people in the town. Scout talked about a specific trial that completely rocked the town. The case involved a white girl named Mayella Ewell and an African American man named Tom Robinson (DBQ Project, p.7). Mayella Ewell had no friends, she was poor, and because of her gender was not looked at as superior, although under those circumstances she was able to have influence within the case based on her class, gender, and race (DBQ Document A, p.13).
Tom Robinson’s case, in which we see in that time period how a white man’s word goes against a black’s, is perceived as unfair by Scout, Jem, Atticus, and many of their neighbors. As Atticus says to Jem, “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it–whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”(295) This quote explains that there is great injustice and extortion for personal gain. This is disturbing in its own right; The fact that Atticus needs to even make a comment like that is disturbing in its own right, let alone that any person would do that to another, also tells Jem this: “So far nothing in your life has interfered with your reasoning process. Those are twelve reasonable men in everyday life, Tom’s jury, but you saw something come between them and reason. You saw the same thing that night in front of the jail. When that crew went away, they didn’t go as reasonable men, they went because we were there. There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads–they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.”(295) Even a man like Atticus, a sort of rebel in that time period, accepts that the system is
The lack of justice between black and white people and the mistreatment of Atticus’s family were the first few moments in which Scout and Jem’s were introduced to an evil Maycomb. The realization that Tom Robinson has been accused of raping a white girl with no real evidence and only because he is black, completely shocked Scout and Jem, especially when in reality, Bob Ewell was hurting his own daughter and made her purposely accuse Tom. Although Scout was sure that Atticus is a great lawyer and that Tom will be set free, she is dumbfounded and filled with hatred when the verdict was that Tom is guilty. When Scout asked Atticus explain everything and why happened, he said, “I don’t know but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it—seems only the children weep,” (Lee, 213), meaning that the only one’s that actually care about how Tom was found guilty is children like Scout, Jem, and Dill and not the other people of Maycomb. After seeing Tom Robinson wrongly convicted, Jem and Scout discover that their nation is completely prejudiced and cruel, making them lose their
As Jem was eating Miss Maudie’s cake, she explains to him how Atticus had to have defended Tom because “he’s the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that” (183), showing that Atticus had to be appointed to the case for a reason, and that reason was he's the only person who could get an all-white jury to really think about the conviction of a black man. Normally, an all-white jury would convict a black man for any crime in a significantly shorter amount of time since it’s always a white person’s word against a black person’s word which doesn’t hold strongly in court; nevertheless, Atticus seemed to be able to get to them because the jury took longer than usual to convict a case that would have been quick and effortless. Since he wore out the jury out for that long, Atticus is recognized as the person the good people of Maycomb solely trusts to create the change that their town so desperately needs. As it turns out, Scout thinks “[they’re] making a step—it’s just a baby-step, but it’s a step” (183). This depicts how although Atticus lost his case, he did make the jury question if they should really convict a black man which to Scout and presumably other residents of Maycomb is a step in the direction towards change in the deep
Harper Lee introduces Scout as an insensible tomboy caught in the midst of contrite prejudicial conception. She has not yet discovered what is right and wrong due to various misconceptions that the people of
He takes the case solely because of his belief that “...whenever a white man [cheats] a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash”(295). Atticus’s quote highlights his views that all people no matter what race, no matter how wealthy should be treated equally. Atticus’ dealing with Tom Robinson, who Scout seems to think of as less is very important to Scout learning empathy. Atticus shows that if he had thought of Tom as inferior and not worthy of his time, Atticus would have never shaken the racism that the Maycomb community and white men of his time attempt to engrave in him. By seeing Atticus take the case and fighting his “heart out” for Tom, Scout learns that she should never just follow the “crowd” and not be racist. When Atticus first takes the case Scout is curious as to why he would defend a man that the whole town thinks of as inferior. Scout asks: “If you shouldn’t be defendin him, then why are you doin’ it?...The main [reason] is, if I didn’t I couldn't hold my head up in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again(100). Atticus’ quote is a great demonstration of his strong morals and character. Atticus seems to believe that his whole town knows that it was Bob Ewell who raped Mayella Ewell, and that deep, deep down they think that it is the right
One of them said, “the court appointed [Atticus] to defend [Tom],” while the other replied, “But Atticus aims to defend him. That’s what I don’t like” (218). Scout contemplated what the men said, realizing that Atticus had to defend Tom whether he wanted to or not. She then attempted to reach a conclusion on if it explained the town’s “behavior,” but was found it “confusing.” When Atticus gets appointed to defend someone in court, he was bound to his duty as a lawyer to defend that person no matter what. The townspeople disliked that Atticus was trying to defend Tom, and it confused Scout because Atticus was only doing the job the townspeople had chosen him to do. Again, this portrays how Scout’s youthfulness and innocence causes her to have less understanding of her town. While Atticus and the reader have a full understanding of the townspeople’s behavior, and Jem with a small awareness of the issue, Scout is the only one who isn’t vaguely aware that racial tensions run amuck. As a result, she doesn’t understand that the townspeople act on that racial bias, an age-old habit ingrained into almost the entire town’s population, further highlighting her
Harper Lee's ‘To kill a Mockingbird’ explores the prejudicial issues which plague over the town Maycomb. Harper Lee uses the trial of Tom Robinson a black man accused of rape on a young white girl, Mayella as a central theme to portray the prominence of racial discrimination in Maycomb. The racial prejudice is also widely shown through the characterisation of Atticus. Having Scout as the narrator allows Harper Lee to highlight the gender inequity through a youthful unbiased perspective. The chauvinistic attitudes and prejudiced views of most of the town’s folk leaves Maycombs social hierarchy in an unfair order, victimising many of the town’s people due to their socially non-conforming habits some ‘socially unaccepted people’ including Boo
During Tom Robinson’s trial, Scout starts to understand the entirety of racial injustice. We see this when Scout meets the lynch mob outside Tom’s cell before the trial, and she stopped them by talking to and embarrassing Mr. Cunningham. It was not until after that night
Earlier in the novel, Scout relates that Atticus views the Ewell family as “the disgrace of Maycomb” (33). However, as the Ewells are a white family, they are having a higher social status. During the trial, it is declared that Mayella seduces Tom Robinson, and her father, Bob Ewell, thought that his daughter would shift her warm feelings for a black man. In addition, Bob Ewell’s reaction to his daughter kissing to Tom Robinson displays the fear of miscegenation. Atticus, however, strives for justice. Atticus explains the ugly truth to Jem and Scout: “In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins” (251-252). Atticus shows disgust with white people taking advantage of a black person’s ignorance” (252). Tom Robinson is facing a trial and the death sentence because he is black. Furthermore, Atticus makes it clear to his children that racism exists and tells Scout and Jem: 'In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always