what are atticus's main points in his address to the jury (using as many quotes as possible)  

Expert Answers
renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus explains that the case is not difficult, there is no medical evidence and little testimony to prove Tom's guilt. Atticus points out that Mayella has, "broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society" by attempting to seduce a black man. He acknowledges her poverty and the ignorance, but says, "I cannot pity her: she is white." He explains that Mayella proceeded to do this even though she knew it was not going to be acceptable.Having broken one of society's unspoken codes, she chose to, "put the evidence of her offense," specifically Tom, away from her by testifying against him. Atticus accuses Mayella of trying to get rid of her own guilt by getting rid of Tom.

Atticus claims that Mr. Ewell beat his daughter, proven by Mayella's bruising on her right side. Mr. Ewell is left-handed, while Tom can't punch with his left hand at all. Atticus points out that the case comes down to the word of a black man against the word of the white people, and that the Ewells' case depends upon the jury's assumption that "all black men lie." In conclusion, Atticus speaks directly to the jury, reminding them that there are honest and dishonest black people just as there are honest and dishonest white people. He tells the jury that in a court of law, "all men are created equal."

sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At first he lays out the facts, emphasizing the physical difficulty Tom would have to do what he is accused of because of his crippled arm.  He also points out the obvious character weaknesses and low standing in the community of Bob Ewell.  More importantly, however, Atticus relies on his reference to the Declaration of Independence which says that all men are created equal.  He acknowledges that such is not always so, but that in a court of law it should always be so, meaning that the jury should disregard Tom's race in rendering its decision. Finally, he appears to their own sense of right and wrong when he says,"Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury."  He suggests that "good men" would necessarily find Tom innocent because the facts say he is.  If they do not find him innocent, Atticus implies, they are neither "good" nor "men."


Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question