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How does Scout know the verdict before it is read? What is the broader implication of...

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joy-ekuka | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 1, 2011 at 3:12 AM via web

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How does Scout know the verdict before it is read? What is the broader implication of the jury's behavior in To Kill a Mockingbird?

 

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 1, 2011 at 4:27 AM (Answer #1)

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Being the daughter of an attorney in To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout had a little background about juries and how they react. She describes the return of the jury for the Tom Robinson trial as having "a dreamlike quality... moving like underwater swimmers." She saw

     ... something only a lawyer's child could be expected to see, could be expected to watch for...
     A jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted. and when the jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson. 

It was no surprise to her, then, when Judge Taylor polled the jury and received the repeated answers of "guilty." Jem must have been surprised, however, because he "jerked at each guilty" as if he was being stabbed. Scout realized later that Tom had no chance in the first place; the all-white, all-male jury had made up its mind even before the trial had started. For,

... in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the moment Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.

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