While reading the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, eighth grade students could possibly predict that a jury would never have been an all-white jury. Today's eighth grade students would probably be surprised to learn that racism was so prevalent until fairness for all people did not exist even in court. Students today will find it hard to believe that Atticus will lose the trial, even though he proves the black man, Tom Robinson, is innocent of raping a white girl.
No doubt, today's eighth grade students will probably predict that justice will prevail; however, due to the mentality of people during the 1960s, people were not treated equally. Students today will be surprised to learn that Atticus put himself and his children in danger because he chose to represent and defend a black man who was innocent. Eighth grade students would probably predict that the black man would be exonerated after Atticus cleverly presented evidence that the black man could not have raped Mayella. The rapist was a left-handed man based on the bruises on her neck. The black Tom Robinson had a crippled left arm. He could not have raped Mayella. Truly eighth grade students today will predict that the evidence will allow Tom Robinson to walk away a free man. They would never predict that Tom Robinson would be found guilty based solely on skin color. It is unfathomable to think that the justice system was so corrupt in the 20th century. Eighth grade students' parents were born in the 20th century. It will be difficult for eighth grade students to believe that the courts would have allowed such unfairness just decades ago. To Kill A Mockingbird will be an enlightening novel for eighth grade students today. They will learn about injustice through racism and classism. The novel will teach eighth grade students that times have somewhat changed for the better due to the civil rights movement.
One event that eighth grade student will truly find surprising is the fact that people filled with hatred would kill an innocent man based solely on his skin color. They will be surprised to learn that Tom Robinson was shot and killed even though he was proved innocent by Atticus Finch. Eight grade students will not predict that such an injustice could have occurred in the 20th century--a century when people were supposed to be educated due to public school systems. Most eighth grade students today would never have predicted such dangerous ignorance could have been so prevalent in the United States only decades ago.