Tom Robinson is a young family man. He is twenty-five years old and is married to Helen, and they have three children. The Great Depression caused severe financial hardship for many Americans, and in some ways it was especially hard on African Americans. With jobs increasingly scarce, many employers reserved them for white workers when possible and paid them higher wages than black workers. By 1940, more than 1.5 million African Americans had migrated from the South to the North looking for work; others remained at home and tried to find whatever work they could.
Evidence of Tom’s low economic status emerges during the trial. Tom had been arrested previously for fighting; although the offense could have been settled by paying a fine, which the other party did, Tom could not afford to do so and was incarcerated.
Tom has some physical limitations because one of his arms is “crippled” from a childhood work accident. He works primarily for Link Deas as an agricultural laborer in cotton...
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