Considering the conflicting testimony of Mayella and a lack of evidence in To Kill a Mockingbird, is it a paradox that the jury still believes the evidence of Mayella?  

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It seems paradoxical that the jury convicts Tom Robinson given Mayella’s conflicting testimony and the lack of evidence, but it is clear that Tom’s race is the tipping point in the conviction.

Mayella’s testimony contradicts Tom’s side of the story and even conflicts with her father’s. At first, she claims...

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It seems paradoxical that the jury convicts Tom Robinson given Mayella’s conflicting testimony and the lack of evidence, but it is clear that Tom’s race is the tipping point in the conviction.

Mayella’s testimony contradicts Tom’s side of the story and even conflicts with her father’s. At first, she claims she never asked Tom for help before, but she then corrects herself and says she might have. She also says that she can’t remember if he hit her but then claims she does remember.

Meanwhile, her father says that he saw Tom assaulting her, but she claims that her father asked her who did it, which implies he did not identify Tom. Normally, such accounts would be too inconsistent to convict a person, so it does seem paradoxical that the jury does convict Tom.

However, it is unfortunately understandable why the jury does this when we consider the historical context of the trial. The story takes place in the 1930s, a time of legalized segregation and intense racial tension in the United States. If Tom had been a white man, he probably would not have been sent to jail. But there is clearly racial bias in the courtroom, and Tom is hyper-criminalized because he is Black.

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