How do events conspire against Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird? 

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From birth, Tom Robinson has had society's cards stacked against him simply because of the color of his skin.  Being black has prevented him from obtaining an education; a lack of an education has led to farm labor, a job where brawn is all that is needed, not brains; working on the farm with its dangerous equipment leads to the injury that makes his right arm useless.

Good things about Tom's character also unfortunately contribute to his undeserved end:  his kindness propels him to help Mayella when she needs assistance.  His general good nature and naivite blinds him to her ulterior motives (sexual) until it is too late.  Tom's kindness overrides his skepticism at helping a white girl; he sees that she is lonely and what a nightmare her family is; he feels sorry for the girl.  His sympathy is what most outrages the white community.  The majority view black men as equal or less than animals.  How could a less-than-human feel "sorry" for a human? they wonder.

Tom puts his trust in Atticus when he is falsely accused.  Despite Finch's best efforts, Tom is convicted.  It is little surprise that Tom holds no hope for the appeals process.  He dies trying to escape in the final act of consipiracy against himself and the desire of the town to hold on to its racist ways. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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