Give Atticus's interpretation of the trial and the jury deliberation in Chapter 23 of To Kill a Mockingbird.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Atticus, the trial all boiled down to one simple point:

"In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins."

This was not news to Atticus; he had told his brother, Jack, this same thing earlier in the novel. He recognized that if Jem and eleven others like him had been on the jury, Tom would have been found not guilty. But he knew that the twelve jurors at Tom's trial may be "twelve reasonable men in everyday life," but once they got into the jury box, they "couldn't be fair if they tried." Atticus hoped that because the jury had taken so long to reach a verdict--one of the Cunningham family was the lone holdout--that it might be "the shadow of a beginning." On "a hunch," Atticus had decided to allow Cunningham to be seated as a juror, hoping that he had earned the respect of the lynch mob several nights earlier. But one Cunningham was not enough.

"If we'd had two of that crowd, we'd've had a hung jury." 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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