From To Kill a Mockingbird, please give a character analysis of Judge John Taylor. Somewhat relating to the book, describe how he would live, his family, his free time, nicknames etc., inferring...

From To Kill a Mockingbird, please give a character analysis of Judge John Taylor. Somewhat relating to the book, describe how he would live, his family, his free time, nicknames etc., inferring how he would behave outside the courthouse. (It doesn't need to be perfect, just assumptions). Please also mention Judge Taylor's attitude, bias, way of speaking, observations of other people etc. 

Extra (less priority):

-Include a situation in which Judge Taylor would demonstrate or be in the act of empathy with others.

-A first person perspective from Judge Taylor's point of view during the court case rather than Scout's

-Evidence of characters growth (although may be little-none, maybe opinion/mindset changes over the course of events)

-Just considerations to include in describing Judge Taylor:

His observations on other people, his response to a challenging situations, opinion on controversial matters, characters dreams, hopes, disappointments, flashbacks to other events, etc.

Thank you so much!

Expert Answers
durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In To Kill A Mockingbird, Judge Taylor, although not a major character, is essential to the outcome and has the ability to make a difference. Unfortunately, whilst he is a like-able, although considered "sleepy," character and, in a town with a serious racial "disease," he does his best, he is ineffectual in serving the best interests of the accused- Tom Robinson. The judge's decision to appoint Atticus, reflects his belief in the justice system and the hope that Atticus can sufficiently influence the jury in making the right decision. However, this could also be seen as self-serving as he can relieve himself of any guilt or responsibility for the inevitable outcome but still satisfy his duty of providing a "fair" trial, notwithstanding the jury of, essentially, white farmers.

The judge is an older man and would have lived with his wife, an excellent bread baker and active member of the church choir, in  a nondescript house in the center of town. He would go unnoticed most of the time, in his dark suits and quiet demeanor although extremely observant and able to watch people and form conclusions without them even being aware of his presence. He would form opinions and would always be right. He would want to change perceptions within his community but his subtle ways of trying to do this would remain largely ineffective. Judge Taylor would think that his non-confrontational approach would be appreciated by the townsfolk but, in fact, this adds to his position of being a figure-head but nothing more; almost reinforcing the unacceptable behavior and beliefs of Maycomb residents. 

In his free time, he chats to the postmistress, school teachers and so on without upsetting anyone. He is an avid reader of historical novels and a strategic chess player,able to outwit his opponent patiently allowing his opponent to make the first mistake. His nickname is "sharky" to the children but, as he is not considered a threat to the locals and their prejudiced way of life, despite his influential position, he is called something as innocuous as "whitey" (his hair color) or a name associated with his cigar-chewing habit.   

His account of the trial goes something like this:

I know that justice will prevail and I have taken all steps to ensure that. There is little respect for the sensitivities of the women and children here and to have to demand good behavior from our good citizens is most disturbing. I have revealed my expectations in the conducting of these proceedings in the most informal manner, as pomp and ceremony have no place in Maycomb but I will NOT, will NOT, tolerate interruptions and poor behavior. Even Mr Deas, who "ain't had a speck o'trouble outa" Tom Robinson, cannot presume to be inappropriate in MY courtroom. 

It is interesting to note that Mr Ewell, that most peculiar character for whom I cannot hide my distaste, is indeed left-handed and this must be relevant. I am hoping the jury realize they cannot be sure "beyond all reasonable doubt" of Tom Robinson's guilt. However, justice must be served and the jury will decide. Atticus Finch has delivered the best defense and this is, in itself, a victory; that someone should stand up at such personal cost, to do the right thing. I knew that I had made the right decision by appointing him...

The townspeople do not seem to realize Judge Taylor's favor towards Tom- because he knows he is innocent- but Atticus is very aware of the judge's efforts, "Don't tell me judges don't try to prejudice juries."

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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