To Kill A Mockingbird Essay
Being a colored person in a white community can be very difficult. It is especially challenging for Tom Robinson in To Kill A Mockingbird, and also minorities in real life. Every day, they are discriminated against, and it is very unfair. To Kill a Mockingbird has many non-fiction parts, which makes the novel better than many others. Harper Lee presented Tom’s trial in ways that can be easily compared to real life trials, such as the Scottsboro trial.
Tom Robinson’s trial was definitely the most dramatic, yet the most realistic part in this piece of writing. In the trial, Tom Robinson was accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Tom claimed that he did not do it, but many people did not believe him. Tom was a young black male, and Mayella was a young white female. Because of his skin color, the trial was very prejudiced. Everyone already saw Tom as being guilty before the trial even started. If it was not for Atticus Finch, the best lawyer in Maycomb County, Tom would not have had a chance of winning in court. Since Atticus believed in him, Tom had somewhat of a chance of winning. This trial was definitely the most lifelike section of this novel.
At the end of the trial, the jury still saw Tom as being guilty, even though he was innocent. Most of the colored people knew he was innocent, but they could not do anything to help him because of the all-white jury. There were most likely white people who believed that Tom was innocent too, but for one reason or another, did not say anything. Some of them would have known the Robinson family and realized that Tom was a good person.
Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus has no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed. (Lee 275-276)
The day after the trial, Tom was shot while trying to escape from the prison. He ends up getting shot seventeen times in the back. It was unnecessary to fire that many shots, but the prison guards were too eager to shoot a black man. Tom most likely had enough of living in a world run by the white. In chapter 25, Atticus says, “There is something in our world that makes men lose their heads – that couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly but those are the facts of life.” (Lee 251-252) This quote helps the readers to better understand the racial inequality that is portrayed in this novel. Harper Lee might have added this emotional part in this novel, because it greatly relates to her childhood. Tom is considered to be guilty because of his skin color, and if he would have been white, the outcome would have probably been quite different.
On March 25, 1931, almost everyone in North America was focused on one of the most racist court cases in history, the Scottsboro trial. This case involved nine colored boys between the ages of twelve and nineteen. They were referred to as the “Scottsboro boys.” These black youth were charged with the rape of two women. This case was so popular because it showed the horrible treatment of the blacks in the south, specifically Alabama. The two ladies that said they had been raped by the nine boys were not even touched by them. Those women lied about this, and as a result, eight of the nine young boys were sentenced to death (Wormser). Many Americans were very familiar with this court case.
Lots of people in the United States of America were angry that the boys were being sentenced to death, because they did not get a fair trial. The state of Alabama then retried one of the boys, Haywood Patterson, and sentenced him again. The trial judge, James Horton, ended up setting that verdict aside, because he believed that the boy was innocent. That judge ended up getting fired, and Haywood Patterson was sentenced to seventy-five years in prison. Many people were disappointed by this.
There are many similarities between Tom Robinson’s trial in To Kill A Mockingbird and the Scottsboro trials. All of the trials took place in Alabama. Tom’s trial ended with Tom getting shot, and therefore dying. The Scottsboro trials ended with eight of the nine boys being sentenced to death. Another similarity is that the trials were very discriminatory due to the racial differences. Also, the juries were entirely white. Both cases involved a key white man that supported the accused. This person was Atticus in To Kill A Mockingbird and Judge James Horton in the Scottsboro trials. Both men tried very hard to prove the innocence of the accused, but both failed. Tom Robinson’s trial was very similar to the Scottsboro trials.
To Kill A Mockingbird is a fantastic novel because of the strong message of what life was like in the south. The world was very different when Tom Robinson’s trial and the Scottsboro trials took place. The colored population was not treated fairly. Today, blacks and whites live in harmony, for the most part. Because of that, the world is a better place.
Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird . New York, NY: 2006.
Wormser, Richard. “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.” pbs.org. N.p., 2002. Web. 14 Nov 2013.
Cited: Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird . New York, NY: 2006. Wormser, Richard. “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.” pbs.org. N.p., 2002. Web. 14 Nov 2013.