Tom Robinson Quotes

I need quotes and page numbers from To Kill a Mockingbird about "Justice." Can you provide quotes about the trial of Tom Robinson and how justice took part in it?

Any justice or eqaulity quotes and page numbers would help a lot!

There are a number of quotes about justice after the Tom Robinson trial when the children are talking with Miss Maudie and Atticus. One example is on page 219. Atticus says, "Tom Robinson's a colored man, Jem.  No jury in this part of the world's going to say 'We think you're guilty, but not very' on a charge like that. It was either a straight acquittal or nothing." Some other quotes about justice can be found on pages 216, 220, 235, and 236.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The other answers have covered this topic well, but I can provide a few more quotes about Tom Robinson, justice, and equality.

First, after the trial, Mr. Underwood, the Maycomb newspaper editor, speaks out angrily about the injustice done to Tom Robinson in a newspaper editorial in which he states, in Scout's summation of his ideas,

Mr. Underwood didn’t talk about miscarriages of justice, he was writing so children could understand. Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping. He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.

Mr. Underwood calls out the murder of Tom Robinson as a slaughter of an innocent man—a sin.

The hypocrisy and injustice of the white townspeople supporting putting Tom Robinson in his "place" while criticizing Hitler's treatment of the Jews comes clear in Scout's concerns about her teacher, Miss Gates. Scout says to 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 [the blacks] 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—

In his final argument defending Robinson, Atticus appeals to the jury to consider the notions of equality on which the United States was founded:

We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe—some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others—some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men. “But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal—there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court.

Atticus says in the above quote that equality before the law is the foundation of justice in the United States, and he asks the jury to respect this ideal.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are a number of quotes after the trial when the children are talking with Miss Maudie and Atticus. Miss Maudie tells the children,

"I thought Atticus Finch won't win, he can't win, but he's the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that." (pg 216)

Later Jem and Scout are talking with Atticus. Jem tells Atticus that he doesn't think it is fair that Tom Robinson was given a death sentence for his crime. Atticus replies,

"Tom Robinson's a colored man, Jem. No jury in this part of the world's going to say 'We think you're guilty, but not very' on a charge like that. It was either a straight acquittal or nothing." (pg 219)

Atticus tells Jem that if the jury was made up of him and eleven other boys like Jem that Tom Robinson would be a free man today. He compliments the fact that nothing has interfered with Jem's reasoning. He says,

"There's something in our world that makes men lose their heads --they couldn't be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins. They're ugly, but those are the facts of life." (pg 220)

He tells Jem and Scout that they will see as they get older that,

"The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it -- whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash" (pg 220)

When Tom is shot down during an attempted prison escape, Aunt Alexandra says that it is the last straw. Atticus says,

"I told him what I thought, but I couldn't in truth say that we had more than a good chance. I guess Tom was tired of white men's chances and preferred to take his own." (pg 235-236)

These quotes are from my edition of the book, but the page numbers should be in close proximity.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial