In Maycomb County, the Negroes are viewed as inferior, and in addition, the Jim Crow laws are enforced to ensure segregation. As a result, they do not have equal rights as the other citizens. When Atticus is asked to defend Tom Robinson, a Negro man accused of raping a white girl, he accepts. To the community this was improper. The community’s disgust at Atticus’ decision is expressed when Scout is irked by Cecil Jacobs, a boy in her class, when he announces that, “Scout Finch’s daddy defended niggers.” (p. 82). Perplexed by what he means, Scout asks Atticus, who explains that he is “simply defending a negro” (p. 83). When questioned by Scout why he is defending Tom, Atticus replies, “For a number of reasons…The main one is, if I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again.” (p. 83). Furthermore, he states that this case is one he is affected personally by, and that even though he knew that they were not going to win, he agreed because, “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.” (p. 84). This example reveals that even though Atticus knows he is going to lose, he wants to do everything in his power to give Tom the best chance in case justice prevails. Also, he was emotionally invested in this case, and he knew that his conscience would not allow him to do what was not right, regardless of others’ opinions. Heroes generally go against what is expected, stay true to their morals, and always persevere, no matter how dire the outcome is expected to be. These are the exact traits that Atticus exhibits by representing Tom, which is why he is a modern-day hero. Despite Atticus’ best efforts, and Tom’s apparent innocence, Tom is found guilty of rape. Atticus
Perspective can impact many factors in a person’s life; whether they are happy or not, how they act, and who they might spend time with. How one thinks about their circumstances and other people can also greatly influence individual’s personal beliefs. In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee conveys this idea numerous times through the characters. Three of the protagonists that exemplify this are Dill, Scout and Atticus.
When Atticus says, “Just because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us to not try to win”, I believe what he was trying to say is that even though people are so prejudice against one another, it is not a reason to give up on a trial defending someone of color. Like the last question, Atticus wants Tom to have a fair trial, and that should be for everyone.
National Medal of the arts recipient Harper Lee, wrote the beloved and well known book To Kill A Mockingbird, to depict a vivid scene of daily life, and hardships in rural Alabama during the Great Depression, and the courageous actions of a few. Lee portrays Atticus Finch a righteous lawyer, and the father of the Main characters, giving his closing argument to the prejudice jury, to convince them of Tom Robinson’s innocence in the case. Lee passionately communicates to the reader that even in a court of law where every man is to be treated entirely equal, during this time period jury members, and most individuals held their prejudices against African Americans. Which in this incident leads to the conviction of innocent man, with the lack of
Empathy, a most basic human quality, but how many can define it. Empathy according to the Oxford Canadian dictionary empathy is the power of identifying oneself mentally with (and so fully comprehending) a person or object of contemplation, but what does this mean? In simpler terms empathy is the ability to share the thoughts and feelings of another being or object. If that's the definition where can we find examples of this trait that has long been forgotten by society? In Harper Lee’s award winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird, a tale about friendship, loyalty, loss, and perhaps most importantly a story about empathy. Mr. Atticus Finch one of the main characters in the novel is one of the best examples of empathy, as it is thickly entwined
To Kill a Mockingbird is not only a worthwhile read because of the gripping plot, but it’s also worth reading due to the encrypted life lessons the novel promotes. These values that the novel describes are important to life, and provide new perspectives on the world. Harper Lee introduces the values actions have consequences, people aren’t always how they seem, and to finally, protect the innocent in the coming of age story that is To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee does this by elaborating on different occasions where characters are perceived a negative way, perceived as guilty, and sheltering the innocence of some.
Another important point is that not only did the Ewells lie, they made Heck Tate the sheriff lie. Atticus states that, “Which, gentlemen, we know is in itself as black as Tom Robinson’s skin, a lie I do not have to point out to you. You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women-black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men. There is not a person in this courtroom who has never told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there is no man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire.”(Lee 232) These were only a few of of his final statements and even though they don’t effect the fact that Tom Robinson is going
Justice is seen in all aspects of life, and some may pursue justice while others will try anything on their favor to surpass it. Wrongful convictions haven’t been anything new, The Crucible takes place in Salem and occurs to present the Salem Witch Trials, while To Kill A Mockingbird, explores the 1930s from the view of a small girl named Scout, living in Maycomb in a racially divided town in where Tom Robinson, a black man, is accused of raping a white woman. In To Kill a Mockingbird and The Crucible, both John Proctor and Tom Robinson are victims of injustice and convicted of crimes they never committed and so they are looked down upon by the townsmen. Despite all of this, Reverend Hale and Atticus try to change the town’s bias even though
He said this because he knew the struggles he would face trying to defend a black man with a jury that is completely white. He knew it would be difficult to convince an all white jury a black man was innocent in a case that involves sexual assault on a young white woman. Mayella is the young girl who lied that Tom raped her. Mayella tried to seduce Tom, but it went wrong.Tom did not even have sex with the girl. The only thing he was guilty of was being a nice to Mayella. He had no intentions of having a relationship with her. Mayella was raised in an abusive household. Her father was an alcoholic, who was emotionally and physically abusive. She also was poor and lived similarly to the black residents of the town. She did not have any friends and was a loner. When Atticus asked Tom why he spoke to Mayella, Tom responded “I felt right sorry for her, she seemed to try more the rest of 'em." (Lee 264). When another person saw Mayella talking to Tom, Mayella became scared and decided to lie that Tom raped her.The jury came into the court knowing they were going to be on the side of Mayella because Tom was black. Atticus made another speech about race and skin color during court. He
Not only does Mr. Finch agree to fight a battle in court alongside Mr. Robinson, but he goes out of his way to guarantee Tom’s safety. Knowing the quintessential racist ways of the town, Atticus came prepared to put a stop to a lynch that would be taking place in the name of Tom Robinson. “We saw Atticus look up from his newspaper...he seemed to be expecting them” (201). Throughout everything that had happened to Tom Robinson, Atticus Finch did not give up and continued to care for Tom because he too, is human, regardless of the pigment of his skin. “I certainly am (a nigger-lover). I do my best to love everyone” (144). In his defence for Tom, Atticus mentions that he is defending him because if he did not, he “could not hold up his head in town” (101). This shows Atticus always tries to do what is morally right, a rule he has tried to live by his entire life. The act of showing compassion to his clients, no matter who he is defending, helps Atticus to make the morally right decision, regardless of the ridicule that comes along with from the rest of the
In his closing statement, Atticus says the witnesses “have presented themselves to you gentlemen...confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption—the evil assumption—that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their caliber.” In the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, there are a lot of people who take a stand for others. Atticus Finch is the father of Scout-the narrator- and Jem Finch. In the story, Atticus, who is a lawyer, is chosen to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of rape. Being in a southern state in the early 1900s, most people did not like Tom, and were biased
It makes sense as to why Atticus decided to defend Tom Robinson. He continuously tries to find the good in everyone and believes that the black community contains good people. Atticus had mentioned to his brother, Jack, that Tom was innocent but “doomed”. It was impossible
“That all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women... Which, gentlemen, we know is in itself a lie as black as Tom Robinson 's skin, a lie I do not have to point out to you. You know the truth, the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men cannot be trusted.. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men."-Atticus (Lee. pg 217). Atticus accepts Tom for a person and he knows Tom is innocent and telling the truth. The jury on the other which is predominantly white can not accept Tom based on the fact that he is black even though the evidence points to him being innocent.