Where do the children sit for the trial? What does this tell you?

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ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee the courtroom is crowed and hot.  The children sneak into the courtroom to watch the trial.  They sit in the balcony which is filled with the Black members of the community.  This tells the reader that Atticus has done a good job of raising his children not to see the color of people or at least not to judge them or put themselves above anyone.  Most of the community would not have sat in the balcony because they thought themselves above the Black people.  This was an era where segregation was still very much in evidence all over the country, but especially in the deep South.  The children are invited to sit in the balcony by the Reverend and even if they had given it a second thought, the fact that the Reverend suggested it would have put their minds at ease.  They displayed no discomfort or uneasiness and they could see everything from where they sat.

"Jem and Scout find themselves out of their usual social position in this chapter, but comfortably so. When there is no room for them to sit downstairs in the courtroom, they are welcomed into the balcony where the black people sit. Both literally and metaphorically this gives them a new perspective on the trial."

gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Throughout the Tom Robinson trial, Scout, Jem, and Dill sit in the colored balcony next to Reverand Sykes. They are the only white individuals who choose to sit with the black members of the community while the prejudice white citizens of Maycomb sit in the lower levels. The children are both comfortable and unashamed to sit with the black citizens of Maycomb. They are innocent, good-natured individuals who are not prejudiced towards black people. Jem and Scout follow in the footsteps of their father who is unashamed to defend Tom Robinson in front of a racist jury. Atticus has a pure heart and does not judge individuals based on their skin color. The fact that the children choose to sit in the colored balcony is significant because it illuminates the difference in their nature and upbringing. They are not conditioned to hate black people the way that other white citizens in Maycomb have been raised. The children judge people by their character and not their color which is why they feel comfortable sitting with the black community members. 

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