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Scout acquires an important realization during Tom's testimony in To Kill a...

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loser10 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 24, 2011 at 10:47 AM via web

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Scout acquires an important realization during Tom's testimony in To Kill a Mockingbird. Discuss the realization and its significance.

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

Posted August 31, 2011 at 10:29 AM (Answer #1)

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Scout actually comes to several conclusions during Tom Robinson's testimony in Chapter 19 of To Kill a Mockingbird. First, she noticed that Tom's "rubber-like left hand... slipped off the Bible and hit the clerk's table." She already knew that the injuries to Mayella had to have been made by a left-handed man and, to her, this eliminated Tom as a suspect. Secondly, Scout realized that

Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world... even lonelier than Boo Radley... Tom Robinson was probably the only person who was ever decent to her. But she said he took advantage of her, and... she looked at him as if he were dirt beneath her feet.

Scout also remembered one of Atticus' courtroom tricks: Sometimes it was better to listen to the witness rather than watch him. When she listened to Tom, she decided that he was truthful, "with no hint of whining in his voice."

He seemed to be a respectable Negro, and a respectable Negro would never go up into somebody's yard of his own volition.

Scout also noticed that Tom's manners were as good as her father's, and she later came to understand that Tom's running from the Ewell house was not a sign of guilt--just an act of self-preservation. 

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