In Chapter 19 when Tom Robinson is on the witness stand he says that he feels sorry for Miss. Mayella. Why is this such a critical error?
The case of Tom Robinson is decided by the prejudice of the jury, not by the guilt of Robinson. When Tom says that he, a black man accused of raping a white girl, actually feels sorry for the girl because of how bad her life is, it greatly offends the white jury members. Within their society, he was as low as it gets, yet he had the audacity to feel sorry for a white person. His comment riles the audience back up, and removes any sympathy they may have felt for him.