How do the white people of Maycomb feel about the outcome of the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The white people of Maycomb are all glad the trial is over, but their reaction depends on how they felt before the trial.

Atticus is sad that he lost, but he expected to.  He tells Tom Robinson that he can appeal, but Tom tries to escape and is shot.  Atticus regrets not having been able to save him.

I guess Tom was tired of white men's chances and preferred to take his own. (ch 24)

He knows that life will go on, and he has taught his children a valuable lesson about race and persistence.

Aunt Alexandra shows a rare burst of emotion.  She feels sorry for Atticus.

"I'm sorry, brother," she murmured. Having never heard her call Atticus "brother" before, I stole a glance at Jem, but he was not listening. (ch 22)

Although she often seems harsh, Alexandra actually is very supportive of Atticus.  She came to Maycomb to be there for him during the difficult trial.

Jem cries.  He saw the evidence, and was old enough to understand it.  He realizes that there was no way Robinson was guilty, but he was convicted anyway.

"It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem.

"No son, it's not right." (ch 22)

Jem gets a harsh lesson in unfairness.  Atticus also feels that it is not fair, but knows that there is little he can do about it.

Miss Stephanie Crawfold, the neighborhood gossip, is just glad there are so many juicy tidbits to collect.  She bombards the Finch children with questions, even asking them how they feel about seeing their father lose.

Bob Ewell is angry.  He feels that Atticus made a fool of him during the trial, since everyone knows what really happened even though Robinson was convicted.  Miss Stephanie Crawford gleefully tells the children about an incident between him and their father.

Atticus was leaving the post office when Mr. Ewell approached him, cursed him, spat on him, and threatened to kill him. (ch 23)

Atticus does not succumb to the fight.  He tells Ewell he is too old, and tells his kids he wishes Ewell didn’t chew tabacco.  Eventually, Bob attacks his children.  Boo Radley saves them.


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