When Tom Robinson is found guilty, what event earlier in To Kill A Mockingbird does that relate too?  (Something that Scout has experienced.)

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom's prejudicial conviction is not dissimilar in theory to that of the prejudice exemplified by Miss Caroline toward Scout's home education, although this judgment is much less significant.

In Chapter 25, Mr. Underwood's scathing editorial mentions that although Atticus Finch used every tool available to a defense lawyer in order to save Tom Robinson, "in the secret courts of men's hearts, Atticus had no case." Likewise, in the "secret court" of Miss Caroline's heart, although Scout, attempting to help the new teacher, explains to her the backgrounds and the reasoning of some of her classmates, her teacher refuses to listen. Moreover, although Scout is able to read with proficiency and to write---not print--satisfactorily, Miss Caroline derogates her home education because it does not conform to her confirmed belief in the educational theories of John Dewey. In other words, Miss Caroline is a firm believer in the methods described by Dewey:

[T]he general pattern of school organization (by which I mean the relations of pupils to one another and to the teachers) … [centers around] time schedules, schemes of classification, of examination and promotion, of rules of order … Since the subject-matter as well as standards of proper conduct are handed down from the past, the attitude of pupils must, upon the whole, be one of docility, receptivity, and obedience. 

Because Scout has not conformed to this "school organization" of relating in a certain way to her teacher as she tries to assist her teacher in understanding some of the pupils, nor has she conformed to the "time schedule" of learning because her unqualified father has taught her to read much too early and her maid also has taught her to write cursive too soon, Miss Caroline unjustly punishes Scout, and, in a sense, from "the silent court" of her heart she condemns Scout's family for really not knowing how to teach. With prejudice in her heart, Miss Caroline orders Scout to tell her family to not interfere in her education.



Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question