What good came out of Atticus' defense of Tom Robinson in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

    Truthfully, there is very little tangible evidence that any good came from Atticus' defense of Tom Robinson in the Harper Lee novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The town knows that Atticus will defend Tom strenuously, but that is not what most of the citizens desire. The jury and the courtroom observers hear that Tom could not have committed the crimes due to his disability, but he is found guilty anyway. Although some Maycomb citizens are upset with the decision, the majority are happy that the black man has been convicted and that things will settle back to normal in the town. Mr. Underwood's editorial in the newspaper points out the tragedy of Tom's treatment, but it is not expected to change the racial biases of the populace.
    Atticus' defense does show Jem and Scout a deeper appreciation of their father's inner character, and they learn a hard lesson about life, especially in terms of racial inequality. They will see things in a much clearer perspective for the remainder of their lives because of Atticus's decision to take on the case. Perhaps the best thing to come from the trial is that it indirectly leads to the death of Bob Ewell, freeing the town of its most despicable citizen; and it brings Boo Radley out of his self-imposed exile to save the kids from Ewell, leaving Jem and Scout to discover Boo for the kind, heroic protector that he is.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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