What are the effects of Tom Robinson's trial on the citizens of Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird? 

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Much of Maycomb is satisfied with the verdict of Tom Robinson's trial. Certain citizens are impacted negatively, however, including Robinson's wife and the Finch family. 

Individually, it is Jem who is most affected by the outcome of the trial in the Finch family. 

...he is genuinely surprised at Tom Robinson's guilty verdict. The trial leaves Jem a little more withdrawn and less self-confident...

Both Jem and Scout are forced to come to terms with the nature of the society they live within. Though this process is part of their maturation, it is nonetheless regrettable as the innocence they brought into the trial is destroyed by the verdict. 

As witnesses to the events surrounding Tom Robinson’s trial they see a miscarriage of justice, with an innocent man condemned before he even enters the courtroom.

The reputation of the Finch family suffers as a result of the trial, as evidenced by conversations held during the meeting of the women's missionary circle hosted by Aunt Alexandra. Atticus is given some sympathy from these women, but, by-and-large, he is chastised for stirring up trouble and stirring up the passions of the African American community. 

It is in this community, home, as it were, to Tom Robinson's wife, that the greatest negative effects of the trial are seen. When she learns of her husband's death, Helen Robinson demonstrates her grief, fainting while surrounded by her now fatherless children. 

In her example, the contrast between the missionary circle's response to the verdict with "superior" calm and approval of the upheld status quo clearly contrasts with the tragic family repercussions that result from the unjust death sentence passed down to Tom Robinson.

Chapter 25 proves that Maycomb’s difficult time did not end with the trial. Tom’s death almost seems to prove that it is impossible to oppose or to change the unwritten laws of society...

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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