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Why was Tom shot 17 times in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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johnydoe | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 26, 2008 at 7:05 AM via web

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Why was Tom shot 17 times in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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ohsnapsonbrit | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 26, 2008 at 8:09 AM (Answer #1)

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Tom was shot 17 times, because they guards at the camp thought he was trying to escape. They said he was almost over the fence so they began shooting at him. Before this in the trial we discovered one of his arms is almost disfunctional and twelve inches shorter then his other arm. There is almost no way for Tom to climb the fence with an arm like that. The guards had to make up a reason to kill him since he was black.

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cldbentley | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 26, 2008 at 12:01 PM (Answer #2)

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It is also important to note that the guards probably felt no sympathy for Tom, since he was black.  In a sense, it was disrespecful for them to have treated him so brutally, even if he was trying to escape.  Had he been a white prisoner, they probably would not have shot him so many times, though he might still have been shot trying to escape.

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grade8luvinit | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 18, 2008 at 2:28 PM (Answer #3)

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I agree with both, because most would agree that one shot would have done enough damage to anyone, let alone a crippled man. Obviously the guards were racist because two shots is one too many.

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