Description of the verdict in chapter 21; To Kill a Mockingbird.

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As the twelve men on the jury return with the verdict to the courtroom, none of them look at the defendant, Tom Robinson. Scout narrates that she has learned that a jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted. The foreman hands the clerk a piece of paper that the clerk passes to Judge Taylor, who reads, "Guilty...guilty...guilty...." Jem shudders with each guilty as those he were stabbed by each one. Quickly, Atticus gathers his papers, whispers something to Tom Robinson and departs by the quickest exit. As he does so, "the Negroes were getting to their feet" out of respect for the efforts of Atticus on Tom's behalf.

In his closing remarks of Chapter 20, Atticus has urged the jury to consider the evidence and come to the right decision, exhorting them, "In the name of God do your duty" because he fears that they will try Tom in what Mr. Underwood later calls "the secret courts of men's hearts." Sadly, with the "Guilty" verdict, this is precisely what the jury has done. Reverend Sykes has known this would happen since he has cautioned Jem to not be too confident in the power of evidence. 

"Now don't you be so confident, Mr. Jem, I ain't ever seen any jury decide in favor of a colored man over a white man...."

His words have proven prophetic. Despite the fabricated testimony of Mayella and Bob Ewell, the innocent Tom Robinson has paid the ultimate price for having "felt sorry" for Mayella, who with her father, have done nothing but malign him to "save face."

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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