In To Kill a Mockingbird, how is Scout affected by the outcome of Tom Robinson's trial? How does Scout change after witnessing Tom Robinson's trial? What does she learn?

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is affected by the outcome of Tom Robinson's trial in that it causes her to begin to realize the extent of the hypocrisy and prejudice in Maycomb, to recognize the significance of Atticus's defense of Tom, and to mature in her outlook on life.

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Scout and Jem have witnessed the entire Tom Robinson trial. They know that Tom is innocent, so it comes as a blow to them when he is found guilty by the jury. They are still young enough to have hoped for justice.

Jem seems to be the one who reacts...

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Scout and Jem have witnessed the entire Tom Robinson trial. They know that Tom is innocent, so it comes as a blow to them when he is found guilty by the jury. They are still young enough to have hoped for justice.

Jem seems to be the one who reacts most violently to the outcome. His body jerks when the verdict is read as if he has been stabbed, and he cries at the injustice of what has happened as Atticus and the children walk home.

Yet what Jem expresses openly, Scout feels internally. She is beginning to grow up and learn hard lessons not just about the world but about the evil in her own town, among her own neighbors. For example, she begins to put two and two together when her teacher, Miss Gates, tells them that the persecution of the Jews in Germany is wrong. Miss Gate describes the Jews as religious and hardworking people who are nevertheless not treated equally under the law in Germany. She contrasts this to the US, where, Miss Gates insist, people are treated equally.

Now that she has witnessed injustice in her own country personally, Scout can see the parallels between how blacks are treated and Nazi Germany, as well as her teacher's hypocrisy. She asks Jem:

Well, coming out of the courthouse that night Miss Gates was—she was goin‘ down the steps in front of us, you musta not seen her—she was talking with Miss Stephanie Crawford. I heard her say it’s time somebody taught ’em a lesson, they were gettin‘ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us. Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an‘ then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home—

Miss Gates might be blind to her own participation in injustice, but Scout no longer can miss the faults in front of her. The trial helps her mature and come of age in understanding the world is sometimes a harsh place.

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Following the outcome of the Tom Robinson trial, Scout becomes more aware of the prevalent racism throughout her community. Unlike her brother, who becomes jaded toward his prejudiced community members, Scout gains additional perspective and displays sympathy for the disenfranchised citizens of Maycomb. Before the Tom Robinson trial, Scout hardly recognized the harmful effects of racism throughout her community. She naively followed the culture of Maycomb and did not empathize with African Americans or poor white farmers until she witnessed racial injustice firsthand.

After witnessing an innocent man wrongly convicted of assaulting and raping Mayella, Scout begins to understand the significance of her father's defense. Following Tom's unfortunate death, Scout realizes why Tom never had a chance at winning his case. She also recognizes her community's ignorance regarding race and culture. Scout notices Mrs. Merriweather's blatant prejudice during the missionary circle and also analyzes Mrs. Gates's hypocrisy during a Current Events activity. Scout also begins sharing her father's perspective by applying his life lessons. After she survives Bob Ewell's attack, Scout demonstrates her moral development and maturity by sharing an important lesson that she learned after witnessing Atticus defend Tom Robinson. Scout metaphorically applies Atticus's lesson concerning protecting innocent beings by commenting on the importance of leaving Boo Radley out of the town's limelight. Scout says, "Well, it’d be sort of like shootin‘ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?" (Lee, 169).

Overall, Scout matures and develops her perspective on life after witnessing the Tom Robinson trial. She begins to recognize hypocrisy and racial prejudice throughout her community and also begins to apply Atticus's earlier life lessons.

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Before the verdict is even read, she has a bad feeling, a lonely, isolated feeling. "The feeling grew until the atmosphere in the courtroom was exactly the same as a cold February morning, when the mockingbirds were still."  She knew it was coming, and when Judge Taylor read it aloud, she shut her eyes.  When she opened them, she was in a daze.  She couldn't understand what the judge was saying after her read the verdict, she slowly saw Atticus make his way to Tom and then make his exit.  And she was confused when Reverend Sykes asked her to stand in Atticus' honor.

Scout wasn't upset enough to cry, but she knew that the jurors were wrong.  Scout wasn't old enough to really understand how unfair the verdict was.  Jem was the character who reacted to it.  Harper Lee used Scout as a lens for us to see what she was learning from the scene.  Scout learned that there were people in the community who did what they could to help out.  She learned that from Miss Maudie.  There was never a lot of reaction from Scout when the verdict or Tom's death was mentioned.  But she saw how her family members each reacted, and she learned through them how unfair the world was/is.

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