In To Kill A Mockingbird, what is Tom Robinson accused of? Why can't his wife find a job? 

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom Robinson was accused of coming into the home of teenage Mayella Ewell and raping her.  Tom was black and Mayella was white.  These facts elevated the supposed crime in the minds of many people in Maycomb.

These accusations sent Tom to jail.  He was married to Helen, and they had several children.  While he was in jail and unable to work, his wife needed to find a way to help support the family.  She wanted to work, but she needed someone to keep her children for her.

The Robinson children were not the only predicament that Helen faced when finding a job.  Calpurnia explained to Scout that due to the nature of the supposed crime, many people were not wanting to associate themselves with Helen.  Calpurnia told Scout: "Folks aren't anxious to— to have anything to do with any of [Tom's] family" (To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 12).  

Link Deas eventually found a job for Helen.  He proved to be an excellent employer.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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