In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 20, how do you think the jury will react to Atticus' closing statements? Explain. 

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch is a man of character and moral integrity. Even up against the seemingly insurmountable task of trying to provide a fair trial for a wrongly accused black man in the prejudiced South, Atticus does not lose heart. He does not give up at any point in the trial, and he is not finished until he has delivered his closing argument to the jury.

Atticus' actions through the entire court case had proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that Tom Robinson is innocent. Tom's left arm is totally useless to him, and Mayella was beaten by someone left-handed: seemingly her father. Atticus has made his case to leave the jury with "reasonable doubt." And when the powerful and admirable character of Atticus Finch leans into the jury and pleads, "In the name of God, believe him," we feel that this man has done all he can. We want to believe that if anyone can save Tom, it is Atticus who is such a strong and admirable man. The reader hopes, as can be seen in Jem's reactions, that Atticus has made all the difference.

However, soon we find that the hearts of men cannot be changed so easily, neither can their prejudices be altered within a few days in court. And we are distressed, as is Jem, that Atticus loses Tom's acquittal. However, when Rev. Sykes and the rest of the black community stand out of respect and thanks for Atticus' efforts, we know that Atticus had done all he can, and Tom Robinson's friends and community know this as well.

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