Tom Robinson “to kill a mockingbird” Essay
Would you put an innocent man in jail? Back in the 1960’s if you were black it didn’t matter. This is why Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mocking Bird exaggerates that Tom Robinson is not guilty but convicted for his color. Also Harper lee expresses that the jury is flawed clearly. Being convicted causes Tom to lose his innocents literally. This is the theme that Harper Lee is trying to get across. While Tom loses his innocence so does Jem Finch mentally. Jem thinking that justice will always be served comes crumbling down throughout his mind. This causes him to lose his innocence supporting Harper Lee’s message she puts across through the trial. Racism and prejudices was very strong in this time period of the 1960’s. The blacks especially were treated even below the worst of society (the Ewells in particular).
Harper Lee even states on page 172 that “Maycomb’s Ewells lived behind the town garbage dump in what was once a Negro cabin”. Showing in society he should be below the blacks on society. She also states on chapter 17.67 “All the little man on the witness stand had that made him any better than his nearest neighbors was, that if scrubbed with lye soap in very hot water, his skin was white”. This is the only reasoning for the jury to convict Tom Robinson. This and the jury not being made up of his peers show clearly how the justice system and jury is flawed. Not only did the trial have physical effects but symbolic messages too. Tom Robinson is a victim of society’s flaws and prejudices but, Jem Finch is just as much of a victim. Jem loses his innocence and in this way is a victim. He loses innocence when he becomes so sure because of how obvious Tom was innocent. On chapter 23.30 when he says “…Reverend, but don’t fret, we’ve won it… Don’t see how any jury could convict on what we heard.”
Then when Tom becomes convicted, a part of Jem’s innocence is taken away. Harper Lee on chapter 21.5 expresses this when she says “His shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab”. Symbolically those stabs are his innocence being taken away. As Jem loses his innocence he begins to face reality that the justice system and society is flawed with prejudices. Similar to Tom Robinson, Jem is strongly affected by the trial but, in very different ways as you have seen. This trial of Tom Robinson in To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee clearly shows what prejudices can do to good people and children. Even today we have prejudices and that’s 50 years later. Harper Lee also showed how far prejudices can go. By expressing that the justice system (the jury) becomes flawed because of the color of a man’s skin. This is why it’s amazing how a boy can understand that it’s wrong to put an innocent man away. But, grown men can’t understand this just because society in the 1960’s was so accustomed to believing all colored men are guilty.