What are three things that show Jem and Scout see the need for change in To Kill a Mockingbird's Maycomb County?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

JURIES.  Jem sees a definite need for a change in juries after witnessing the travesty of justice perpetrated by the jury of the Tom Robinson trial. He wonders if "we oughta do away with juries," and he recognizes that the absence of women--such as Miss Maudie--is also a miscarriage of justice. "Soon's I get grown--"

MAYCOMB'S SOCIAL ORDER.  Jem is pretty accurate when he describes the town's social pecking order:

  1. "... the ordinary kind like us and the neighbors..."
  2. "... the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods..."
  3. The Ewells
  4. Negroes

Both of the children sympathize with Tom's plight, being an honest man who is nonetheless not believed because he is black; and Scout sympathizes with Walter Cunningham Jr., also honest but poor, who is not allowed to come and play at the Finches' house because, according to Aunt Alexandra, "--he--is--trash..." Instead, Scout believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks."

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.  Both Atticus and Jem believe that Tom should not die for rape. According to Jem,

"It ain't right. He didn't kill anybody even if he was guilty. He didn't take anybody's life...
     Jem was shaking his head. "... maybe rape shouldn't be a capital offense..."  (Chapter 23)

Atticus believes that before a man is sentenced to die,

"... there should be one or two eye-witnesses. Someone should be able to say, 'Yes, I was there and saw him pull the trigger.' "  (Chapter 23)

Atticus suggests that only a judge should decide whether a man should die or not.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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