What did the crowd in the balcony do as Atticus enters and exits the courtroom? I have have to write a paper explaining some key points in the movie.

Expert Answers
kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Chapter 21 of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the trial of Tom Robinson, the crippled African American wrongfully accused of raping a white woman, has ended with, as expected, his conviction.  Atticus Finch has done his job, and he’s done it well.  The racially-motivated jury may have ignored all of the evidence in its rush to convict a black, but Atticus has succeeded in exposing the racism that dominated the accusation, trial and conviction of a desperately poor and physically handicapped African American.  If there was no justice in the trial’s outcome, there was, at least, a moral victory of sorts in the obviousness of that outcome.  The town’s black community recognizes this, and appreciates the efforts put into Tom’s defense by a respected white attorney acting out of conscience.  It is for this reason that that community, forced to occupy the balcony because of the racial segregation that rules Maycomb, stands in a show of appreciation and respect for this Caucasian lawyer.  As Lee describes the scene, Scout has been initially oblivious to this show of respect for her father:

“Miss Jean Louise?”

I looked around. They were standing. All around us and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Sykes’s voice was as distant as Judge Taylor’s:

“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin‘.”

shauger eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Atticus leaves the courtroom after the trial, the balcony (which was seating for the "colored" people - although Jem, Scout, and Dill are also up there) stands as a sign of respect and appreciation towards Atticus. In the novel, Scout is told the by minister up there with them to stand because her father is "passing by."

brandih eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The whole balcony stands as a sign of respect to Atticus.

zumba96 | Student

They stood up as a sign of respect. Atticus did not have a reason to fight this case except he was standing for what is right. Even though he knew that Tom Robinson would in fact get called out and be considered guilty because of his race, he decided to stand for what is right. Atticus was able to prove that Mayella's own father beat her and was the cause of her bruise, yet all those in the jury overlooked this important distinction because of Tom's race. This is why everyone stood up as a sign of respect.  

revolution | Student

The whole crowd of blacks in the balcony rises up and stand in attention when Atticus walked past after the verdict of the trial that Tom Robinson was guilty as charged was given. It was a sign of gesture to respect and appreciate the hard work that Atticus has put in defending the blacks even though he knows that the result of the trial would not be in his favor due to the favoritism of the whites than to the blacks by the judges.

damini | Student

the crowd stands up as they honour him for supporting the black people. back then the black people were the victim of racism

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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