How does the summation (in “Excerpts from Summations”) compare to Atticus’ summaryin To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There certainly are several parallels between the Scottsboro trials and the trial of Tom Robinson; and, there are parallels that can be drawn between the summations of the trial of the "Scottsboro Boys" in 1933 and the trial of Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird, set also in the mid-1930s. 

--Regarding Mr. Wade Wright's summation in the trial of nine boys accused of raping two white females, the overtones are very similar to those ideas expressed by Mr. Gilmer:  We know that the defendant(s) is/are guilty, so let's just get the verdict in.  Mr. Wright has almost a rabble-rouser technique, alluding to Mr. Leibowitz, the pro-bono defender: "Is justice going to be bought and sold in Alabama with Jew money from New York?"  Likewise, the summation of Thomas Knight asks for swfit action.

--In the summation of Samuel Leibowitz, Mr. Leibowitz addresses the jurors:

Now, ...I shall appeal to your reasoning as logical, intelligent human beings, determined to give even this poor scrap of colored humanity a fair, square deal.

In addition, Leibowitz's closing remarks ring of those of Atticus Finch: 

mobs mean nothing to me....but if I can contribute my little bit to see that justice is served, then my mission is fulfilled 

Like Mr. Leibowitz, Atticus Finch has feared no mob, either.  He has appealed to the jurors as reasonable men, who can reasonably deduce that Tom Robinson who has sworn on the Bible with his right hand because his left arm is debilitated, does not possess the ability to have choked Mayella, and he could not have inflicted the bruises which clearly were made by someone left-handed.   

Like Mr. Leibowitz, too, Atticus declares that 

"there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal--there is one human institution....That institution, gentlemen, is a court....In the name of God, do your duty."


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