What is unusual about how long it takes the jury to reach a verdict? Is the verdict predictable or not?This answer will be found in chapter 21 in To Kill A Mockingbird.

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mlsldy3's profile pic

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Atticus knew that Tom was going to be found guilty. He was, after all, a black man trying to get a fair trial in the small southern town of Maycomb. Atticus knew exactly what was going to happen. He knew that he had proven without a doubt that Tom was innocent, but being a black man, he was already judged guilty. 

When the jury takes longer than usual, there is a silent sense of hope. Atticus hopes that the people of the jury will realize they are about to convict an innocent man. The members of the jury have already made up their minds, and are just talking in the jury room. The outcome of the verdict is very predictable. Everyone knew that Tom was not going to have any justice. Bottom line was he was a black man, and to the eyes of most of the people in Maycomb, that meant guilty. 

What is the saddest of all, is that a man like Bob Ewell, who is cruel and vindictive, gets some kind of justice, just because he is white. Being a black man in Maycomb, was a dangerous thing, and being accused of rape of a white woman, was a death sentence. Atticus had proved that there was no way Tom could have committed the crime, but just because he was a black man, the verdict was concluded long before the trial even began.

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teacherscribe's profile pic

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The verdict is very predictable.  But what is really unheard of is how long the jury deliberated, given the racism so evident in Maycomb; it is really a testament to how hard Atticus worked in Tom's defense that the jury didn't return a guilty verdict almost instantly. 

It is also important to note that later in the novel we learn that one juror, Mr. Cunningham, was initially for an acquittal (remember he was a member of the lynch mob that came for Tom earlier in the novel).  Atticus is able to achieve a moral victory in getting the jury to deliberate for so long.  But ultimately, the racsim in which Maycomb has been steeped wins out and an innocent black man is found guilty just because of the color of his skin. 

In this Scout and Jem learn a valuable lesson - the lowest, basest white trash people in Maycomb, the Ewells, are still held in higher regard than the blacks.

price7781's profile pic

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Usually when a jury takes a long time in deliberation, it means that there is at least some debate as to the guilt or innocence of the accused.  Perhaps Atticus’ emotional plea to the jury to do the right thing and that everyone should be treated equally in the court system had an effect.  However, Atticus is a realist.  He knows that an all white jury finding a black man innocent of rape will never happen.  It does, however, show that Atticus did have some effect and that perhaps ideas about race are beginning to change in Maycomb.  Jem, in his innocence, is convinced that Atticus has won the case, and when the jury comes back with a guilty verdict, Jem is devastated.  It is then that Atticus tells Jem and Scout that his conscience forced him to at least try to defend Tom Robinson the best he could.  If not, Atticus wouldn’t have been able to live with himself. Atticus is a hero, and the black community in the courthouse understands Atticus’ valiant attempts to free an innocent man, and therefore, they stand in respect when Atticus passes out of the courthouse.

catlover2413's profile pic

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Atticus knew that Tom was going to be found guilty. He was, after all, a black man trying to get a fair trial in the small southern town of Maycomb. Atticus knew exactly what was going to happen. He knew that he had proven without a doubt that Tom was innocent, but being a black man, he was already judged guilty. 

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