What is the main point of Mr. Underwood's editorial in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The point of Mr. Underwood’s editorial is that Tom Robinson was victimized by society and people should be ashamed of themselves.

Tom Robinson was convicted, even though he was crippled and Atticus proved he did not commit the crime he was accused with, and indeed the crime never took place at all.  Robinson went to prison and was shot trying to escape.  If he had full use of both arms, people said he would have made it.

When Mr. Underwood heard this, he wrote an editorial that Maycomb described as “poetical.”

Mr. Underwood didn't talk about miscarriages of justice, he was writing so children could understand. Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping. He likened Tom's death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children …(Ch 25)

This is a reference to an earlier comment by Atticus that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird.  Tom Robinson was one of the two mockingbirds in the story (the other is Boo Radley), because he was an innocent man targeted by society as a scapegoat and a means of entertainment.  He was convicted because of his race, and because the jury refused to take the word of a black man over that of a white woman, even when it was clear that the crime he had been convicted for never actually happened.


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