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In Ch 20 of To Kill a Mockingbird, how is Atticus' closing statement in defense of Tom...

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chalmers | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 5, 2009 at 8:30 AM via web

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In Ch 20 of To Kill a Mockingbird, how is Atticus' closing statement in defense of Tom Robinson also an attack upon racism?

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troutmiller | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted January 5, 2009 at 10:30 AM (Answer #1)

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Atticus tells the men of the jury to do their duty. He knows that they will allow their prejudices speak for them, and they will convict Tom because he is black. His closing paragraph is very powerful. "I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system--that is no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality. Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury. A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up. I am confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this defendant to his family. In the name of God, do your duty."

That is very powerful.  He is openly explaining what each open-minded man should do without directions.  He shouldn't have to do that.  He is openly attacking racism.

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