Importance of the Trial in To Kill a Mockingbird
The trial of Tom Robinson is central to our understanding of racial and social prejudice in Maycomb. Harper Lee uses Tom Robinson's 'crime' to bring tensions in the town to a head and the author uses the trial as a way of making the ideas behind such tensions explicit for the reader.
The two people involved in the so-called crime, Tom Robinson and Mayella Ewell, are at the very bottom of Maycomb society. Tom is black and Mayella one of the poorest of the poor whites. However, neither of them fits into the stereotypes held by the people of Maycomb. Tom is honest, hardworking and dependable, as Mr Link Deas's shouted testimony and his demeanour in court …show more content…
The trial itself provides Harper Lee with the opportunity to examine the attitudes of people like the Ewells and the presumably more respectable members of the jury. Bob Ewell emerges as a drunken, bullying, child-abuser with little respect for the law and even less for truth and justice. But however low in the social order he is, Bob Ewell can still look down on black people. At the beginning of his testimony he complains about a 'nest' of them near him bringing down the property values of his shack by the town dump. Tom's account of Mayella's actions suggests that he may have indulged in some form of incest with his daughter, but the taboo against relationships between white women and black men is so strong that even Bob Ewell is shocked and horrified by it. He responds first by savagely beating his daughter and then by accusing Tom Robinson of rape.
Whatever respect or sympathy the reader might have had for Bob Ewell is dispelled by his behaviour in the courtroom and the evidence that Atticus produces that he was the cause of Mayella's beating. Not only is he a self-righteous bully but he is prepared to sacrifice Tom Robinson's life for his own selfish ends. The reader is more likely to feel sympathy for Mayella as the trial progresses. Her loneliness and need for simple human contact are made painfully evident as Scout comes to understand that she is 'the loneliest
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The book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is an American classic and has been a staple in high schools for many years. The main storyline that this novel follows is of Scout, a young girl, living in the sleepy town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s. It follows the case of Tom Robinson, an African American man, and how he was accused and convicted of rape. In prison, Tom was shot and killed because he was said to have tried to escape. While Mayella is the one who is saying that Tom raped her, the real person who should be to blame is her abusive father. As is quite apparent, Bob Ewell is the person who is most responsible for the death of Tom Robinson.
She arouses the astonishing emotions from the jury in page 272, by inserting the quote, “She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man.” The jury should be astonished by the behavior of Mayella Ewell and the author wants some of them to consider Mayella as a person who is guilty, not Tom Robinson. Moreover, she adds another quote in page 273 saying, “The witnesses for the state, with the exception of the sheriff of Maycomb County, have presented themselves to you gentlemen, to this court, in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption...” This quote evokes the feeling of anger as the jury felt that they are getting used by the people who are considered “lower class” in Maycomb County. These negative feelings support Harper Lee’s argument since she wants the people to know that Ewells are the bad people and are the ones who are guilty, not Tom
I am reading the book, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. This book is about a girl named Scout Finch who lives with her brother, Jem, and her father, Atticus, during the Great Depression. They live in a small town called Maycomb, Alabama. Maycomb is a town where everybody knows everybody. There is currently a trial taking place; Mayella vs. Tom Robinson. Tom has been accused of rapeing Mayella. Tom has pleaded not guilty for the crime he has been accused of. In this journal I will be evaluating Tom’s character and questioning why the Ewells may be lying.
The trial of Tom Robinson came and Jem and Scout had to sneak into the upper balcony to watch. Even though the lack of evidence clearly favored the defense winning, the all white jury found Tom Robinson guilty. After trying to escape the prison, Tom Robinson gets shot and killed. Even though Bob Ewell, Mayella’s alcoholic father, gets the outcome he wants in the trial, his reputation was damaged severely as it became evident he was the one who really abused his daughter.
Moreover, racism is one of the biggest problems not only in the book but also in the world. It creates much conflict and makes many innocent, like Tom Robinson become wrongly accused felons. The trial of Tom Robinson serves as the highly-anticipated moment in the novel. Tom Robinson is accused of raping a young white woman named Mayella. The oldest child, Mayella becomes a mother figure for her younger siblings. In addition, the novel implies that Mayella is involved in an abusive relationship with her father. While Atticus represents justice and morality, Bob Ewell represents ignorance and racial prejudice. In fact, Bob Ewell’s full name is Robert E. Lee Ewell, named after the general who commanded the Confederate army. The name
Trying to get Tom Robinson killed, spitting in Atticus’ face, beating up his own daughter, and attempting to kill Jem and Scout are all terrible things that Mr. Ewell has either succeeded or tried to commit. The stereotype of the poor white southerner, along with the theme of the mockingbird, the destruction of innocence, is strongly supported by Bob Ewell and his actions against his community. First off, Bob exemplifies his stereotype when he tries to throw his own crime against Tom because he is “below him.” And he doesn’t do it so subtly either. When Bob was describing Tom in his testimony, he said, “I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella” (Lee 175). This one quote shows just how trash Bob is. The way he phrases his accusation achieves an impressive feat of multitasking as he dehumanizes Tom by not even speaking his name, emphasizes his race over everything else, compares Tom to a beast by saying he was “rutting”, shows Mayella as a passive victim, and puts his own power over her by saying “my Mayella”, as if Tom is stealing property from the Ewell’s.
Mayella does not have power involving social class, The Ewells are a poor family, and her father, Bob Ewell, is looked down upon by the town. During Tom Robinson’s trial, Bob Ewell thought of himself as “a hero, but all he got for his pain was… okay we’ll convict this Negro, but get back to your dump” (Lee
Specifically, Lee creates sympathy for Mayella at the trial. For instance, she seems very timid and nervous. Mayella feels threatened by Atticus and his confidence, she begins to cry. The poor girl does not know what to do. Readers can infer Mayella knows the truth, but is too scared to expose it. Overall, Mayella feels the need to save her father’s reputation. However, Atticus is not the one causing the cruelty, and it also is not the judge, or Tom. The one being cruel to Mayella is her father. Mr. Ewell’s cruelty becomes evident during the trial when Atticus was giving his evidence of why Tom was innocent. The readers now know Mr. Ewell, her own father, was abusing her and now forcing her to lie about it. Therefore, the reader does not know what to think because Mayella is supposed to be the enemy, but now mixed feelings in the reader arise. Is Mayella the antagonist, or is she the protagonist in the situation? The cruelty towards Mayella Ewell shifts readers feelings towards the trial.
During the court session he is angry and offended by what Atticus accuses him. When Mayella is questioned, Atticus ask her if shes loves him. Her response is “He’s does tollable, ‘cept when-” (245). Atticus then asked if it is when he is drinking and she has no response. As Atticus further clarifies, and she says that he has never laid a hand on her. However it demonstrates that, although Mayella will not admit it, he is not a good father–he drinks, is not very present in is kids life, he is dirty and his house is a mess. It shows how his intentions are never good and is not a good father to his kids. Thus showing his evilness because the only person he really cares for is himself and he does not do a good job of that either. A few days later Bob Ewell verbally attacks Atticus when he is on his way home from the post office. Thus showing his wrath to Atticus because he is furious at what Atticus has said in court. He then goes to spit in his face and threatens to kill him. He then continues to curse and threaten
In the courtroom, where the jury is deciding who is truly guilty of beating Mayella Ewell, Scout begins to change her viewpoint and views the case from an adult’s perspective. In the early stages of the trial, Atticus Finch is having a conversation with his brother, Jack, involving the negativity to come. He says, "It couldn 't be worse, Jack. The only thing we 've got is a black man 's word against the Ewells’” (100). The entire town assumes Tom Robinson beat Mayella simply based on the color of his skin. Maycomb is filled with racism; it runs through the town’s veins. However, Scout chooses to look beyond the given facts and discover the truth. Alongside her brother, she decides to dig deeper into the case after meeting Dolphus Raymond. The man inspires her to never give up and keep fighting for what she believes in. Later on, Scout and her friends hear the news concerning the trial. Bob Ewell, Mayella’s father, proves to be the culprit, but Robinson is found guilty. Scout’s opinion on racism evolves during the trial, and she learns that the world is not as perfect as children assume it to be.
Throughout the entire trial, Atticus Finch proves to the jury and the attendees of the court case time and time again that Tom Robinson is innocent. Although it is not said outright, it is unanimously known among everybody in the courtroom that the Ewell’s story of what happened to Mayella is a lie. Despite these obvious facts, the jury and the people of Maycomb refuse to accept the truth, because acquitting Tom Robinson would cause an entire upheaval of the society of Maycomb. It would go against everything society had taught them about their social hierarchy and they cannot imagine a world where they do not live by the strict rules society has taught them. Even though Bob Ewell’s character is far below Tom Robinson, he still must be perceived by everyone as better than Tom because of the color of his skin.
The suspense of the crowd gathered in Maycomb County's courthouse, both black and white, is infectious. On the 21st of November a black man, and a father of two, was accused of raping white nineteen year old Mayella Ewell. Bob Ewell, the victim's father, has chosen Mr Gilmer as his lawyer and Judge Taylor, who is presiding the trial along with a hand-picked jury, has selected Atticus Finch as the defence attorney. Even with Atticus Finch's compelling speeches it is unlikely for Tom Robinson, aforementioned negro, to escape with his life.
But then again in this prejudice town one man’s rumour was another man’s truth. I’d wanted so badly to change small Maycomb for the better of the Negro; for the better of Tom Robinson. I had a feeling i was losing the case but i can’t give up now. I was so close, so close to a taste of freedom for Tom but also myself, for the better of Scout and Jem and how their views of society will be impacted. Now was my time to prove this man’s innocence and have some justice. As i walk through the door into the main courtroom I feel all my doubt fade; i have my foot in the door with this case and the evidence to prove this man innocent, I can’t back out
Ewell. During Atticus ' cross examination, however, Bob complied with the request to write his name, which he did with his left hand.Tom Robinson however, states that he came inside the Ewell 's house at Mayella 's request, and she suddenly kissed him and grabbed him around the waist while he stood on a chair. He immediately ran from the house out of fear, and as he did, Bob Ewell appeared at the window, and began to yell at Mayella. He also tells the jury that he would often help Mayella with small jobs out of empathy, but never intended to hurt her. As Scout watches the case she notices that “Tom Robinson was probably the only person who was ever decent to her” (257). The town of Maycomb assumes that all African Americans are essentially incapable of compassion, when they are the same internally as the white population in Maycomb. Despite all of the crude comments that Tom receives, he still has the common decency to treat everyone equally. Tom Robinson will always be a better man than people such as Bob Ewell, but the town of Maycomb doesn’t comprehend this simply because they only see a white man and a black man. Scout is not the only one who has come to this realization; Tom’s employer, Mr. Link Deas, also views Tom as an honorable, and kind person.During the trial, Mr Gilmer, the