How are Jem Finch‘s reaction to Tom’s conviction in To Kill a Mockingbird and Griffin's reaction to the news in Black Like Me similar?

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem Finch reacts to Tom’s conviction with rage, tears, and bewilderment. In Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin demonstrates the relationship between Tom and the reality of Black men in the South when it’s made known that Southern newspapers will print the most tenuous rape allegation if it implicates a Black man.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In To Kill a Mockingbird , Jem Finch reacts to the conviction of Tom Robinson with tears, bewilderment, and something like rage. Jem doesn’t understand why a court of law—an area that’s supposed to be just, fair, and free of prejudice—would declare Tom guilty. “How could they do it, how...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem Finch reacts to the conviction of Tom Robinson with tears, bewilderment, and something like rage. Jem doesn’t understand why a court of law—an area that’s supposed to be just, fair, and free of prejudice—would declare Tom guilty. “How could they do it, how could they?” he asks Atticus.

In Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin never comments directly on the fictional trial of Tom. However, when reading Black Like Me in the context of To Kill a Mockingbird, you should note the similarities between Tom’s fictionalized predicament and the stark reality for Black men in the South. You might want to locate the part when the narrator tells how Southern newspapers will print any type of rape allegation against Black men but will never publish an article about a Black person’s accomplishments or triumphs.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on