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What are character traits of Tom Robinson in "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee?I...

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mrs-longoria3 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 17, 2009 at 1:55 AM via web

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What are character traits of Tom Robinson in "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee?

I also need three quotations from the book. If you could give me those that would be great but if not can you tell me instances when he showed this trait.

And I already have that he is Hard-Working.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 18, 2009 at 12:31 PM (Answer #1)

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Tom's character is revealed in the novel primarily through his testimony at his trial. It shows, for instance, that he was a very kind and compassionate person. He felt sorry for Mayella trying to take care of her many brothers and sisters with no help from her father. Tom testified that he often tried to give Mayella some help, doing small jobs for her on his way to and from work. He expected no payment; he helped her out of the goodness of his heart. When Tom testified to this at his trial, he made a serious mistake by telling the truth--that he felt sorry for the girl. Because he was black and she was white, this was seen as "being uppity" on his part.

Tom was also realistic. He knew when he testified that he had no power to defend himself while being questioned by the white prosecutor, Mr. Gilmer. Tom spoke very carefully, trying not to offend, trying hard to play the racial role expected of him in Maycomb before the white jury. He accepted Gilmer's insults and condesension because he had to. When he dared to disagree with Gilmer on one point, Tom had to apologize to the prosecutor who attacked him for his "attitude." Tom was fighting for his life in court, and he knew he had little or no chance of winning.

Reviewing Tom's trial in the novel will provide numerous passages that show these character traits of his.

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madison5sisters | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 16, 2015 at 8:12 PM (Answer #3)

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Tom Robinson is a very caring and loving person. He felt bad for Mayella so he wanted to help her and didnt want any money in return. 

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