How does Maycomb react to the news of Tom Robinson's death, in To Kill a Mockingbird? (Chapter 25)  

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a couple of reactions to the news of Tom Robinson's death. A few of the people, who really cared, were upset about the news.

The rest of the town, however, could not have cared less. Now that the hype had died down about the trial, people just thought Tom was another black person to be killed and they thought he got what he deserved. For a couple of days, the people would talk about it, and gossip, but after that the news just went away. 

The death of Tom Robinson shows us of the tragic injustice done to Tom. The whole town was against the innocent man right from the beginning. Just because he was a black man, he was guilty before there was a trial. The harsh reality of what Scout and Jem see brings them to maturity sooner than Atticus had wanted it to. Atticus had tried so hard to keep the ugliness from the kids, but they were thrown right in the middle of it. Jem and Scout saw first hand just how mean and hateful people can be. By the town reacting the way they did, just goes to show us what the people of Maycomb really thought of Tom. 

price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The sad news of Tom Robinson's death has little effect on the people of Maycomb.  To them, it just showed that Tom was guilty and typical behavior for a Negro.  Rumors spread for a couple of days, but then it just became "old news".  The town went on as usual with no real understanding or sympathy for Tom.  One person affected by the shooting of Tom was Atticus.  Out of respect, Atticus visits Tom's wife, Helen, to give her the news.  Although Tom's death seems to be for nothing, Mr. Underwood, the owner of the town newspaper, writes an editorial saying that it is a sin to kill a cripple no matter what the circumstances.  Mr. Underwood understands the truth about Tom and is courageous for speaking out.  It's a sad part of the book because we want justice for Tom and understand how hard life will be for Helen Robinson.  However, for the citizens of Maycomb, there is no empathy or understanding of Tom's dilemma as a black man who has been sentenced to prison and has a family depending on him.  

troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first thing they do is blame Tom. In chapter 25 it says, "To Maycomb, Tom's death was typical.  Typical of a ni---- to cut and run.  Typical of a n---'s mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future, just run blind first chance he saw...You know how they are."

The news lasted maybe two days in Maycomb.  It spread pretty fast, and then it was over with.  The only interesting thing about his death appeared in the The Maycomb Tribune the next Thursday.  It was an editorial that likened the killing of a "criple" to the "senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children."  Although Mr. Underwood was a racist himself, his editorial showed that he respected both Atticus and the law.  That's why he was there with a gun the night of the Sarum Bunch mob.  He wanted to point out how the theme of killing a mockingbird fit Tom's death.

zumba96 | Student

The town upholds the racial prejudices found within the town and they say they were expecting his death because he is an African man. People just believed he was another African man who was about to die. This showcases the thinking present in the minds of the people of the community who view colored life as less then them. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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