In To Kill a Mockingbird, how does the character Tom Robinson connect with the motif of loneliness?  

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom is a happy family man with a wife and kids when he is charged with the rape of Mayella Ewell. He is used to working as a field hand in the freedom of the outdoors. His loneliness is first seen when he spends the night alone in the Maycomb County Jail just prior to the trial. He is unable to sleep, and he must have heard what transpired outside "from the darkness above" when the lynch mob arrived to take him to be hanged. Being charged with a capital crime, bail is not an option, and following the guilty verdict, he is sent to

... Enfield Prison Farm, seventy miles away in Chester County. I asked Atticus if Tom's wife and children were allowed to visit him, but Atticus said no.  (Chapter 23)

With no friends or relatives allowed to visit and a death sentence hanging over his head, Tom's spirit was broken. Although Atticus assured him that he had "a good chance" at being freed on appeal, Tom decided that a last chance at freedom was better than being behind bars, and "tired of white men's chances," he decided to run. Tom's problems began when he "felt sorry" for the lonely Mayella, coming to her aid when she asked for it before falling into the trap that she had set for him. One of the innocent human mockingbirds of the story, the lonely Tom dies a caged man, cutting short a life meant only to provide happiness to others.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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