*What does Jem Expect the verdict to be? & Does Atticus think the same?
*What is unusual about how long it takes the jury to reach a verdict? & Is the verdict predictable or not?
*As Scout waits for the verdidct, she thinks of earlier events. What are the events and how do they remind you of the novel's central theme?
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Jem thinks that the jury will find Tom "not guilty" based on the evidence which has been presented--a fair jury would have given this verdict. However, Atticus knows that the jury will deliver a "guilty" verdict because as distasteful as the Bob Ewell is, he is a white man accusing a black man. In the eyes of the jury, the black man will always be guilty no matter what the evidence says.
The jury didn't not take that long...it could go either way provided the jury members were all convinced that he was or was not guilty. However, in this story, they weren't really considering the events. They only focused on the racial barrier and Tom's skin color. Deliberations took no time at all.
I think I'm going to contradict the last post slightly, in that the unusual part of the jury deliberation was that it took a surprisingly LONG time, considering the fact it was an all-white jury, a white victim, and a black defendant. In fact, Miss Maudie later tells the kids that it was a "baby step", because only Atticus Finch could keep a jury out that long.
Readers are safe to assume that most of the jury truly felt that Tom was innocent, but were afraid to cross the racial line and embarass a white woman who accused a black man of raping her; it'd set a dangerous precedent.... one for which the town simply wasn't ready. Atticus later tells Jem that the one person who almost caused a hung jury was one of the Cunninghams, who seemed to have found a new respect for Atticus after he was willing to put himself between them and and Tom the night they came to lynch him.
I think the trusting child part of Jem believes that the verdict will be not guilty. However, the events of the summer have tarnished the innocence of his childhood, so while he might be disappointed, I don’t think he is surprised. Atticus could have expected no other outcome.
Jem is a believer in the justice system: he is, after all, his father's son. He believes that since the evidence points to Tom's innocence, that the jury will decide to acquit Tom.
Atticus knows he community much too well. He is not surprised by the verdict; Maycomb is still a racially-directed community.
The verdict takes a while. Later we find out that Walter Cunningham, of all people, stood up for Tom during deliberations.
Scout remembers back to a day in February when everything was silent: the birds, the carpenters at Miss Maudie's; the doors were shut tight. It was cold. And that scene in Scout's memory reminds her of the quiet, waiting courtroom.
Jem thought that the jury would acquit Tom Robinson, but he learns that because the jury took longer than expected to deliberate, it was a victory of sorts. Scout does not have an opinion one way or another, but she does think of the events that have led her to that point. The significant theme of the book is that justice is sometimes delayed, and human behavior is hard to understand.
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