How does Maycomb react to the news of Tom's death?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The death of Tom Robinson is soon forgotten by most of the people of Maycomb, many of whom believe that Tom got what he deserved.

     Maycomb was interested by the news of Tom's death for perhaps two days: two days was enough for the information to spread through the county.  (Chapter 25)

Atticus is, of course, disgusted by the way in which Tom died.

"Seventeen bullet holes in him. They didn't have to shoot him that much."  (Chapter 24)

Aunt Alexandra believes it is "the last straw," but Miss Maudie explains that the entire town does not celebrate Tom's death.

     "The handful of people in this town who say that fair play is not marked White Only... The handful of people in this town with background, that's who they are."  (Chapter 24)

But the majority believe that Tom's decision to run is "typical."

Typical of a nigger to cut and run. Typical of a nigger's mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future.  (Chapter 25)

Newspaper editor B. B. Underwood thinks differently, however. Though Underwood is no lover of Negroes, he shows his objectivity in his passionate editorial in The Maycomb Tribune. He calls it a "miscarriage of justice," comparing Tom's death to the

... senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.  (Chapter 25)

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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