In "To Kill a Mockingbird" can you find any irony in those last gossipy words of those “ladies” since they just heard of Tom’s death?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There aren't very many words of the gossipy ladies recorded after Scout and Alexandria find out about Tom's death, but the one that stands out the most is "J. Grimes Everett is a martyred saint."  They are continuing their discussion of the most glorious and wonderful (in their eyes) J. Grimes Everett who is doing all of that wonderful work with the Mruna people.  But, right at the end, they describe him as a martyr.  A martyr is someone who dies in the name of a cause, who is brutally murdered for that cause, and who is innocent of any crime.  So, the irony here is that these ladies find Everett-a man never accused of any crime, never put into a situation like Tom's-a martyr, when Tom, a man who was unjustly convicted of a crime, which did eventually lead to his brutal murder, is the true martyr.  Tom was a martyr, slaughtered in the name of racism, prejudice and fear.  So the irony here is that the ladies attach this very heavy and serious title of martyr to Everett, when a member of their own community had just been truly, brutally murdered.  They can't see the situation for what it really is, and their adoration of Everett seems petty and meaningless in light of the recent news of Tom's death.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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