In To Kill a Mockingbird, explain the contrast Scout draws between the court where Tom was tried and "the secret courts of men's hearts." In what way are hearts like courts? 

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Scout makes a distinction between the actual court system and the "secret courts of men's hearts" in the case of Tom Robinson. Consider Tom's trial. Atticus provides Tom with the best defense he can. He points out inconsistencies and contradictions in the testimonies of Bob and Mayella Ewell. During Mayella's testimony, Tom stands and the jury sees his crippled left arm. An effective lawyer, Atticus brings to the attention of the jurors that Bob is left-handed and Mayella appears to have been beaten by someone who "led almost exclusively with his left." Jem is convinced that Atticus wins his case.

Unfortunately, in the "secret courts of men's hearts," evidence and proof have little bearing on the case. Atticus is aware of the reality of Tom's situation as he points out during his closing statements that "in this country our courts are the great levelers." He makes this statement because he knows how the jury in Maycomb County thinks. He attempts to bring to the forefronts of their minds only facts and evidence. However, in reality, the ideas in the "courts" of their hearts carry more weight than facts and evidence.

Mr. Underwood's editorial in the newspaper attributes Tom's death to the "senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children." Tom is found guilty because the heart is much more powerful than reason and logic. By making the comparison between the court system and the heart, Scout leads the reader to the conclusion that what one knows, feels, and believes is difficult to change. Racism will not give up easily. She points out that "Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed."

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At first, Scout doesn't understand what Mr. Underwood means. Tom had "been tried openly and convicted by twelve good men and true." (Chapter 25

Then she realizes Mr. Underwood's meaning. The men on the jury were supposed to give Tom a fair trial and they presented themselves as honest, loyal, and fair. However, they (and many other citizens in Maycomb) have continued to embrace certain social traditions, one of which is racism. Therefore, they present themselves in court as honest citizens, but that racist tendency is still hidden in their hearts. In Chapter 23, Atticus explains this human flaw to Jem: 

The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. 

The court is a public event where laws, morals, and crimes are argued. The heart (or mind) is a court of conscience where personal attitudes are argued, confirmed, accepted, and possibly changed by the individual. Every person must learn and decide their own personal views on society, ethics, and laws to live by. Therefore, the heart/mind is the personal court wherein the person decides his/her beliefs. The courtroom is the public/social version of this. 

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