In To Kill a Mockingbird, what does Jem mean when he says "It ain’t right"?

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mrwickline | High School Teacher | In Training Educator

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Jem says to Atticus the “it ain't fair” in regard to the judge’s ruling in the case of Tom Robinson. This is an important part of the novel because it portrays Jem’s loss of innocence. Previously, Jem did not come into contact with the reality of the overwhelming racial prejudice in Maycomb County until the ruling in Robinson’s case was revealed. Tom Robinson was an innocent African-American that was unjustly convicted of raping Mayella Ewell because of the simple fact that he was a black man in Maycomb, Alabama. Jem is both shocked and disgusted at the ruling when he says, “it aint fair.” His disbelief that an innocent man would be convicted on the basis of his skin color drastically alters his innocent perception of the world. Atticus concurs with Jem’s statement and says that this injustice has happened before, and will happen again.

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