To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
Calpurnia brings a note to Atticus, letting him know that his children have been missing all day since the lunch hour. Mr. Underwood speaks up and says that Scout and Jem are in the balcony with the black residents of the town. Atticus tells his children to go home, but they want to stay and hear the verdict. He will not allow that, but tells them they can return after they eat supper. He assumes that the jury will probably be back before his children return, but he does not tell them that. Calpurnia takes them home, where they quickly eat and run back to the courthouse. The jury has not come back yet, and the courtroom is still full of people who are waiting for the verdict. Even once night has fallen, the jury is still deliberating and has not returned. Jem thinks Tom will be found innocent. Dill has gone to sleep.
It is after eleven o'clock that night before the jury comes back. Scout remembers hearing that, when a person has been convicted, the jury that has convicted him will not look at him. She notices that none of the people on the jury look at Tom Robinson as they file into the courtroom and take their seats. They find Tom guilty, and people start to leave the courtroom. When Atticus gets ready to leave, everyone in the colored balcony stands, because they want to show respect for what Atticus has done, even though it did not turn out the way that they had hoped for Tom Robinson. While they were not able to see one of their own found innocent, Atticus certainly did everything he could have done.
Finding Tom Robinson guilty is not a surprise, but it is very hard for the black community and also for Jem and Scout, who have their father's same sense of justice. They believed that good would prevail over evil, but that has not been the case. There has never been a case yet where a black man prevailed over a white man in a jury trial, because prejudice is just too strong. Atticus is not surprised about the verdict, and the only reason the children are shocked is because they do not yet understand the...Sign up to continue reading Chapter 21 to Chapter 25 >