In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, how did Scout win the fight for justice. How did Tom Robinson lose the fight? Discuss.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom Robinson loses his fight for justice at just about every turn. First, he is accused wrongfully of rape when it is Mayella who actually forced herself on him. Secondly, Tom is incarcerated and nearly lynched by white citizens who assume he is guilty because of his skin color. Then, Tom loses his freedom when the jury declares him guilty in spite of evidence that contradicts the testimony of his accusers. Finally, Tom suffers the ultimate loss when he is killed by prison guards while trying to escape in a fit of frenzy.

Of course, Tom's fight was lost the minute he was accused and arrested for the crime. Atticus points out several times before the trial that no white jury can be expected to take the word of a black man over that of a white man. Atticus hoped only to win Tom's freedom on appeal and warned him to be patient, but Tom could not take the confinement and made his unfortunate choice to attempt an escape instead.

mkcapen1 | Student

In the book "To Kill a Mockingbird" Tom Robinson is a black man accused of raping and beating Miss Ewell, the daughter of Bob Ewell.  Mr. Ewell had really raped his own daughter and beaten here.  He had seen Tom Robinson at the house so he thought it would be the perfect person to pin it on. 

Tom Robinson is an innocent man who has just tried to help Mayella break up a piece of furniture for a nickel.  She had been lonely and grabbed him. Because Tom is black in a southern town during the highlight of open prejudice, the judicial system fails him.  Atticus had made a good case presenting Tom as innocent, but the jury had convicted him anyway. 

Scout’s justice occurred when Heck Tate decided to present the death of Bob Ewell as an accident caused by Ewell himself.  Ewell had attacked the children with a knife.  Boo Radley had saved them by stabbing Mr. Ewell.  If Boo had gone to trial he would have been convicted just like Tom had because the people already had a predeveloped notion of Boo.  In this manner Scout won the fight for justice.

Another incident is when the mob went to the jail to get Tom Robinson.  Scout stood up to them and they ended up disbursing.  She had won that round for justice.


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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