How does Reverend Sykes help the children see and hear the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Reverand Sykes allows Scout and Jem to sit in the balcony of the courthouse with the other black people.

Reverend Sykes is the genial preacher at First Purchase, the Negro church in Maycomb.

Reverend Sykes is a dynamic and fierce preacher.  He counts the collection and tells the congregation it’s not enough for Mrs. Robinson.  Unlike some of the other members of the church, he is happy to have the Finch children visit one Sunday.

"We were 'specially glad to have you all here," said Reverend Sykes.  "This church has no better friend than your daddy." (ch 12)

When the children come to the court house later to watch the trial, Reverand Sykes asks them if they have a seat.  When they don’t, he asks Jem if they can sit in the balcony.

Reverend Sykes edged his way upstairs. In a few moments he was back.

"There's not a seat downstairs. Do you all reckon it'll be all right if you all came to the balcony with me?" (ch 16)

At the point when Bob Ewell’s language gets offensive and they consider clearing the courtroom of women and children, Sykes considers having them leave until Jem explains that Scout does not really understand everything.

When the trial is over, Reverend Sykes helps the children get the perspective of the black community when he tells them to stand.

They were standing. All around us and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Sykes's voice was as distant as Judge Taylor's: "Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'." (ch 21)

Through this exchange, we see the trial from the perspective of the whites and the blacks.  We also get to see how respectful the black community is to Atticus, and how important Atticus is to them even when he loses.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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