What is a quote someone says during Tom Robinson's trial that shows explicit racism towards him?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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During the trial of Tom Robinson, the man who has brought the charge of rape against him is the father of Mayella Ewell, Robert E. Lee Ewell. He is a functionally illiterate and crude man, who attempts to compensate for his ignorance with accusations and threats. On the witness stand, Ewell does not have the good sense to curb his vernacular tongue; consequently, he is admonished by Judge Taylor,

"There will be no more audibly obscene speculations on any subject from anybody in this courtroom as long as I'm sitting here. Do you understand?"

Mr. Ewell nodded, but I don't think he did.

This last remark is that of Scout as narrator, who is correct as Ewell likens his daughter's supposed screaming to that of "a stuck hog." As he continues, Ewell states that he ran to the window, looked in, and "seen that black n****r yonder ruttin' on my Mayella!" This remark elicits chaos. In the balcony there is "an angry muffled groan from the colored people." This last phrase was simply used in the 1930s and not meant to be hateful; however, Ewell's words certainly are clearly racist and hate-filled.

Later, when Mr. Gilmer drills Tom on the stand, Dill begins to cry in sympathy and must go outside with Scout. Without meaning to be cruel, Scout herself makes a racist statement to Dill who asks why Mr. Gilmer was "doin' him thataway, talking so hateful to him--" by saying, "Well, Dill, after all he's just a Negro." Without realizing it, Scout has expressed the conventional sentiment that "Negroes" are inferior and less to be respected, as well.

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zeenabinta's profile pic

zeenabinta | eNotes Newbie

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"There will be no more audibly obscene speculations on any subject from anybody in this courtroom as long as I'm sitting here. Do you understand?"

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