What are Tom Robinson's attitudes, values, beliefs and lessons learned in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Tom Robinson is a respected member of his community and is referred to as a clean-living person by Calpurnia. Tom is also portrayed as an innocent, sympathetic man, who is falsely accused of assaulting and raping Mayella after he selflessly offered to help her with chores. On trial, Tom is...

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Tom Robinson is a respected member of his community and is referred to as a clean-living person by Calpurnia. Tom is also portrayed as an innocent, sympathetic man, who is falsely accused of assaulting and raping Mayella after he selflessly offered to help her with chores. On trial, Tom is depicted as an honest, humble man, who is gentle and compassionate. Judging by Tom's actions, he is a hard-working man who believes that helping others is the right thing to do. He not only helps Mayella complete numerous chores, but he demonstrates his giving attitude by refusing to accept compensation for his work. Unfortunately, Tom is defenseless against the community's ugly prejudice and becomes a victim of racial injustice. Following the trial, Tom is sent to Enfield Prison Farm, where he attempts to escape and is shot seventeen times by the prison guards. According to Atticus, he believed that Tom had a decent chance at his appeal. However, Atticus felt that Tom was "tired of white men’s chances and preferred to take his own." Essentially, Tom learned from his trial that no matter what arguments Atticus could make in court, he stood no chance against a racist white jury, which is why he attempted to flee from Enfield Prison Farm.

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The most sympathetic character in To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson is a God-fearing family man who is accused of a crime he did not commit. Despite his crippled arm, Tom is a hard worker, as his boss, Link Deas, attests to in court. He is apparently highly regarded among the black population of Maycomb, since the members of his church take up a collection to help his family while he is behind bars; additionally, they turn out in great numbers to support him during the trial. When Tom takes the stand, we find that he is soft-spoken and humble. His polite and reverent testimony is a stark contrast to the volatile words spewed by Bob and Mayella Ewell. Thinking he was only being a helpful, friendly neighbor to the needy Mayella, Tom was lured into the Ewell home only for her own sexual urges. Tom must have known that entering the Ewell household could be hazardous, but his own good nature overruled his common sense. He thought he was coming to her aid, hoping to provide Mayella with a helping hand, not realizing her true intentions. On the stand, Tom admits that he felt sorry for Mayella: This is probably his biggest mistake--a black man feeling compassion for a white woman.

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