What is the point of view of the black people in the balcony on the trial of Tom Robinson?If possible provide quotes...i have to write an essay.

Expert Answers
missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question because the Negro community doesn't have the advantage of telling you their side of the story. They aren't the speakers in this book, so all we have to use to try to judge their point of view is their actions.

Scout narrated:

Reverend Sykes came puffing behind us, and steered us gently through the black people in the balcony. Four Negroes rose and gave us their front-row seats. (p.166)

Everyone wanted to see this trial, the bottom was full, the balcony was full and their was standing room only. Yet, out of respect for what Atticus was doing for their community these 4 Negroes who likely arrived early just for the opportunity for front row seats, gave them up for white children. That shows tremendous respect and sacrifice.

In chapter 17,

The Negroes behind us whispered softly among themselves; Dill was asking Reverend Sykes what it was all about, but Reverend Sykes said he didn’t know. So far, things were utterly dull:

I believe this quote shows that the Negroes kept their point of view to themselves, but certainly had one as Atticus questioned Tate and Ewell about the progress to get a doctor or not.

This is the best place I think you see their true point of view.

Mr. Ewell looked confusedly at the judge. “Well, Mayella was raisin‘ this holy racket so I dropped m’load and run as fast as I could but I run into th’ fence, but when I got distangled I run up to th‘ window and I seen—” Mr. Ewell’s face grew scarlet. He stood up and pointed his finger at Tom Robinson. “—I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella!”

So serene was Judge Taylor’s court, that he had few occasions to use his gavel, but he hammered fully five minutes. Atticus was on his feet at the bench saying something to him, Mr. Heck Tate as first officer of the county stood in the middle aisle quelling the packed courtroom. Behind us, there was an angry muffled groan from the colored people. (pg. 175)

Obviously, the colored folks were hurt and angered by the accusation they felt was not true.

This is going to be hard to write about. Be sure to point out that there is not opportunity given for interviews of the balcony in Lee's book. All we have are gesture and this "muffled groan" to work with.

Good luck!

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Needless to say, 100% of the balcony viewers are supporting Tom Robinson and probably all believe him to be innocent. They are also unanimous in their admiration and respect of Atticus, who has defended Tom as well as humanly possible. The black community has already shown their support for Tom by taking up collections in church and showing up to back him at the trial. They show their gratitude to Atticus by standing in unison as he passes below them from the courtroom. They will greet him the next morning with many gifts of food that will await at his door.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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