How does To Kill a Mockingbird's Maycomb view Tom and how did they react to his death? How does Scout feel about him and his death?Questions about Tom Robinson. Thanks.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom Robinson is respected among the African-American population of Maycomb, who take up a collection for his family during church services on the day that Scout and Jem attend with Calpurnia. Although there is little said through Scout's narration, we can assume that his friends consider him innocent of the charges against him. His employer, Link Deas, announces in court that Tom has never given him any trouble, and Deas continues to employ Tom's wife, Helen, after Tom's death. Atticus obviously believes in Tom's innocence, and Atticus' family supports him and believes in Tom, too.

However, most of the white population of Maycomb seem to side with the Ewells' story, primarily because of the dictum that a white man's word is always believed over that of a black man. Thus, most of Maycomb probably see Tom as guilty. Some of Maycomb's white citizens are upset about Tom's death, most notably Aunt Alexandra and Miss Maudie when they receive the news at the missionary circle tea. B. B. Underwood, no lover of the black man, commiserates about Tom's death in his newspaper editorial, likening it to the "senseless slaughter of songbirds." But, as Scout points out,

Maycomb was interested by the news of Tom's death for perhaps two days: two days was enough for the information to spread through the county... To Maycomb, Tom's death was typical. Typical of a nigger to cut and run...

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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