Although, without any shred of proof, Tom Robinson goes on trial for the rape of Mayella Ewell. This pre-determined bias is exhibited clearly through the actions and words that the people of Maycomb ensue, all because of his skin colour. Tom Robinson is ridiculed, name called, and dehumanised by the citizens of Maycomb and is left to face an unfair trial. From the beginning, Tom Robinson does not have a fair chance to defend himself as the jury is highly biased against people of colour. Also, Atticus Finch explains why Tom Robinson has zero chance of winning the trial, “There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads-they couldn’t be fair if they tried.
Despite being called a, “nigger-lover” by many in Maycomb County, Atticus intends do his very best in defending Tom Robinson because, as he explains to his kids, “I couldn’t hold up my head in this town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you and Jem not to do something again.” Representing a black man in Maycomb would mean being treated as a pariah by his own community. To neglect Tom of rightful and fitting counsel would also tarnish all of his ethics, yet Atticus still chooses to defend Tom. When his daughter, Scout, questions if Atticus will win the case, he says no, then states, “simply because we are licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.” Mr. Finch knowingly fights a losing battle in hopes of bringing equality in the hearts and minds of others.
(Lee, 295) Due to this, they convicted innocent Tom Robinson as guilty, considering his ethnic background as a black man and the accuser as a white woman. Not only did Atticus's children detect the racial prejudice in the courtroom, but in people they knew. Sadly, due to the racism thoughts and judgments, Tom's trial did not consist of a fair
In Atticus’ closing argument, the prejudice against Tom Robinson is that he is black, and that any crime that he commits thus must be true, “ the evil assumption - that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings…” (Lee).This affects the possibility of Atticus proving Robinson not guilty because of the prejudice that everyone in the courtroom has against him. The case is revolving around that Tom Robinson is accused of beating and raping Mayella Ewell, the counterargument that Atticus presents shows that Mayella was beaten with the left hand, but Tom Robinson is only capable of using his right hand because his left hand was caught in a cotton gin completely disabling it. Atticus incorporates the use of both logical and emotional appeals in his speech to convince the courtroom that Robinson is not a guilty man. Atticus shoots all the evidence he has at the courtroom and tells them, “In the name of God, do your duty,” (Lee).
Tom’s case was extremely unfair because the jury was all prejudice people. Atticus shares his morals in the courtroom, 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” (217). It was clear that the people in the court do know that what Atticus says is true. Atticus was given instruction to be Tom’s lawyer, he truly tried his best to convince the jury that Tom was
After Atticus loses his trial, Jem notices that the Maycomb County justice system is broken and it needs help, “Then it all goes back to the jury, then. We oughta do away with juries. ”(294) This shows that Jem now understands that people are racist in everything and racism needs to be fought. On top of realizing that the justice system is in shambles, Jem realized that Tom Robinson’s case was very good at showing that.
During the early to mid 1900s there was a lot of racism, especially in the southern United States. This is expressed more inside the court cases of the time. While lots of these ended poorly for defendant, it was often because of the color of their skin, not because they were guilty. In fact many times the defendant was actually innocent.
During the jury voting, Jem could not believe his eyes, “ Judge Taylor was polling the jury: 'Guilty...guilty...guilty...guilty...' I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each "guilty" was a separate stab between them” (278). Watching Atticus try cases for years, he knows in court that justice prevails. He thought for sure that Tom was free, the evidence was crystal clear. He could not see what reasosn the jury had for a guilty verdict, but when the verdict came out as guilty, he was mad because he knew it was a racist verdict from the jury.
At the end, “Judge Taylor was polling the jury” (282), which concludes that Robinson is “‘Guilty… guilty… guilty… guilty’” (282). Not one person, it seems, admits that Robinson is most likely innocent. His race decides for them, because they understand no other way to think than in a racist manner. Because nearly every white person in Maycomb, jury or otherwise, speaks freely about their belief that Robinson is guilty, these men couldn’t or wouldn’t go against the flow and vote according to their true opinion of the plausibility of his innocence. Some time later, after talk about Tom Robinson’s court case has calmed down, Scout talks to Jem about something that she witnessed at school earlier that day.
Don’t see how any jury could convict on what we heard-’...’Now don’t be so confident, Mr. Jem, I ain’t ever seen any jury decide in favor of a colored man over a white man,”’ on page 279 paragraphs 6-7. Harper Lee then continues on page 282 paragraphs 2-3 to write, “A jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted, and when this jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson…’Guilty...guilty...guilty...guilty.’” Then, on page 285 paragraph10 it says, “‘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.’” This all comes together to prove that the children, Jem especially, saw how the verdict should have been and then goes on to suggest that if the jury had been made up of kids the verdict would have been much faster and would have been right because the children would not have been blinded by public opinion. So, the irony of Jem believing Tom Robinson would be free and the belief everyone else had including Atticus that the jury would convict Tom Robinson, shows that adults have come to believe that justice no longer matters, while hypocritically teaching their children that it
Atticus says during Tom’s trial,”And so a quiet, respectable, humble, Negro who had that unmitigated temerity to ‘feel sorry’ for a white woman has had to put his word against two white people’s. I need not remind you of their appearance and conduct on the stand-you saw them for yourselves. The witnesses for the state, with the exception of the sheriff of Maycomb County, have presented themselves to you gentlemen, to the court, in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you can tell me where to go
The evidence boils down to you-did-I-didn 't. The jury couldn 't possibly be expected to take Tom Robinson 's word against the Ewells, '" Atticus solemnly explains this to his brother. First of all, Atticus demonstrates courage when he undertakes the task of defending Tom Robinson, a black man wrongly accused of rape. Atticus knows he won 't win the case and like Mrs. Dubose in her battle against morphine, he is "licked" before he begins. Nevertheless, Atticus knows that Tom is innocent and that he must fight for him, since no one else will.
Tom Robinson was a kind and compassionate being. The only thing Tom was guilty of was that he “felt right sorry for [Mayella]” (264). Atticus stated, in the courtroom, that Mr. Robinson’s “case should have never come to trial” (271). Even all the evidence clearly shows that Tom Robinson is innocent, for example, Mayella Ewell was beaten on the right side of her face. Therefore, Mayella was “beaten savagely by someone who led almost exclusively with his left hand” (272).
Everyone in town knew from the beginning that there was no chance of Mr. Robinson getting acquitted , at least not in the first case, but it did not stop Atticus from trying. Reverend Sykes told the children to not be as confident in Atticus’ success as they “ain’t ever seen any jury decide in favor of a colored man over a white man…”