During the trial in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, how does Tom Robinson place his hand on the Bible?

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At the beginning of Chapter Ten, Tom Robinson places his right hand around his left arm, then uses it to lift his left arm. Tom's "rubber-like" left hand touches the Bible, but immediately slips off when he raises his right hand to vow that he will tell the truth on...

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At the beginning of Chapter Ten, Tom Robinson places his right hand around his left arm, then uses it to lift his left arm. Tom's "rubber-like" left hand touches the Bible, but immediately slips off when he raises his right hand to vow that he will tell the truth on the witness stand. When Tom attempts to lift his left hand back onto the Bible, Judge Taylor tells him, "That'll do." Lee's description of Tom's left arm illustrates that it has no motor function. Tom's ability to use his left arm is a significant aspect of the trial. Tom is accused of assaulting and raping Mayella Ewell, and her injuries suggests that her attacker had two functional hands. Mayella was beaten on the left side of her face and had bruises that encircled her throat. However, the reader recalls the extent of Tom's handicap from his inability to hold his left hand steady on the Bible as he took his vows. 

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The method in which Tom Robinson places his hand on the Bible is seemingly trivial, but it actually turns out to be one of the most important details in the famous trial scene. As such, it's not surprising that Harper Lee describes the method with which Tom places his hand on the Bible in great detail:

Thomas Robinson reached around, ran his fingers under his left arm and lifted it. He guided his arm to the Bible and his rubber-like left hand sought contact with the black binding. As he raised his right hand, the useless one slipped off the Bible and hit the clerk's table. (192) 

Lee's description makes it clear that Robinson's left arm and hand are completely useless, crippled and unable to function. This fact is a key detail in the case, as Atticus earlier established that Mayella Ewell was beaten by a man who was left-handed. Obviously, Robinson couldn't have done it, as his left arm is completely mangled. Mr. Ewell, Mayella's father, however, is ambidextrous, meaning he can use his left hand equally as well as his right. As such, Lee's attention to Robinson's left arm becomes a crucial detail in proving his innocence and Mr. Ewell's guilt. 

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