Before Atticus defends Tom Robinson in front of a prejudiced jury, he is aware that he will not win the case. However, Atticus hopes to "jar the jury" and expose the truth. During the trial, Atticus proves Tom's innocence and suggests that Bob Ewell was Mayella's perpetrator. Sadly, Tom Robinson becomes the victim of racial injustice when he is wrongly convicted of assaulting and raping Mayella Ewell. Despite the outcome of the trial, Atticus is optimistic and believes that it was a small step in the right direction towards racial equality. Atticus mentions that Tom's jury took quite a long time to deliberate and expresses his optimism by telling Jem,
"That was the one thing that made me think, well, this may be the shadow of a beginning. That jury took a few hours. An inevitable verdict, maybe, but usually it takes ‘em just a few minutes."
Unlike his father, Jem is not optimistic about the outcome of the trial and becomes jaded with Maycomb's justice system and his prejudiced neighbors. Jem tells Maudie,
"It’s like bein' a caterpillar in a cocoon, that’s what it is... Like somethin’ asleep wrapped up in a warm place. I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that’s what they seemed like."
Similarly, Dill is also emotionally hurt by the outcome of the trial and tells Jem and Scout, "I think I’ll be a clown when I get grown." Dill believes that becoming a clown will protect his emotions and prevent him from ever feeling upset again. Despite Jem and Dill's negative feelings regarding the outcome of the trial, Scout significantly matures and gains perspective on her community and neighbors. She begins to notice the hypocrisy among her neighbors and develops an understanding of Maycomb's race relations.
The majority of Maycomb's community is prejudiced, and the racist citizens are pleased with the outcome of the trial. They are happy that Tom Robinson was convicted because it did not upset their way of life or favor racial equality. Later on, Tom is shot and killed attempting to escape from the Enfield Prison Farm, and Scout recalls the community's reaction to the incident, which corresponds to their feelings regarding the outcome of the trial. Scout relates the community's thoughts by saying,
"Funny thing, Atticus Finch might’ve got him off scot free, but wait—? Hell no. You know how they are. Easy come, easy go. Just shows you, that Robinson boy was legally married, they say he kept himself clean, went to church and all that, but when it comes down to the line the veneer’s mighty thin. Nigger always comes out in ‘em."