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Harper Lee doesn't really give much information about why Tom tried to make his escape in Chapter 24 of To Kill a Mockingbird. According to Atticus, he considered Tom's chances for a successful appeal "good"; however, Atticus adds that Tom was probably " 'tired of white men's chances' " and decided to take a chance on his own. Tom must have figured that he would have a better chance of escaping while he was in the prison yard during his exercise period. It was then that he broke into a dead run and started climbing the fence. He nearly made it, the guards told Atticus, before they riddled him with 17 bullet holes.
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