Atticus’s Speech

Topics: Black people, White people, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 2 (492 words) Published: January 21, 2013
Atticus begins his closing statement by casually addressing the jury by frankly stating it is obvious that Tom Robinson did not rape Mayella Ewell. Based on the fact that there is no medical evidence that even remotely suggests he did rape her. Atticus speaks of how Mayella is a victim but has not been victimised by Tom Robinson. She has been a victim of the “cruel poverty and ignorance” she has been forced to suffer through her entire life because of her father. Mayella is also guilty, not guilty of committing a crime, but of breaking the code of society. Under Mayella’s circumstances it is not surprising for Tom to feel sorry for her. It is the expected emotion from a human being, black or white. Many say all black men are awful people who lie, but they know this is a lie. The rest of Atticus’s speech is about how racism is morally wrong and all men are created equal. Atticus makes the point that the fate of this man’s life depends on a person’s moral compass and he hopes the jury will do the right thing.

I think what is most interesting in Atticus's speech is when he talks about Tom Robinson feeling sorry for Mayella Ewell. In every trial there is always a time when an attorney gets a few steps ahead by using what the person on the stand says and really exploiting it. Mr. Glimmer had that jump ahead was when he asked Tom why he helped Mayella. Tom’s answer was that he felt sorry for her. Though that doesn't sound wrong now a days, back then it was extremely disrespectful for a black man to say that about a white person. Even though the Ewells have such a low ranking in society, black, civilized people are still at the bottom. So for a black man to be condescending toward a white woman by saying he feels sorry for her was supposedly completely absurd. In a final speech, Atticus sarcastically says, “And so a quiet, respectable, humble Negro who has the unmitigated temerity to ‘feel sorry’ for a white woman...” Atticus undermines Mr. Glimmer’s slight lead...
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