To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Why did Tom Robinson try to escape jail?

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Mike Rosenbaum eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Many question Tom's decision because of Atticus' reassurance that he be patient and wait for the appeal. Remember, though, that Atticus had clearly proved Tom was innocent. Mayella had practically admitted on the stand that he was innocent. The judge had said aloud that Tom could not have beaten Mayella. And yet the jury still found him guilty. Tom had no hope left.

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Tom flees because he has already been let down by the justice system once and has absolutely no faith that an appeal will do him any good. The reality that he will "get the chair" looms large.

When the news comes, Atticus explains to Aunt Alexandra (Ch 24): "They shot him...he was running. It was during their exercise period. They said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started to climb. Right in front of them...". Atticus continues, "We had such a good chance. I told him what I thought, but I couldn't truth say that we had more than a good chance. I guess Tom was tired of white men's chances and preferred to take his own."

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bobmarleydude | Student

 Well, first of all, im bellow 9th grade, but this is a very good question. we don't know for sure if he was really trying to escape. THEY FOUND 17 BULLETHOLES In him! Was it really the authors intention for us to believe that he was trying to escape?....maybe....but only Harper Lee knows that. Anyway, maybe Tom Robinson had truly lost all hope in Atticus, even though he tryed. he probably thought he could get away, and defeat the system...either way, from the start, Atticus and maybe Tom as well knew that tom would end up being dead, because the jury didnt want to go against the "rules"; White beats Black......but tom knew he would die anyway, so he gave it a chance.

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damini | Student

He thinks that there is no hope left now, no point of making an appeal anymore. he knows that he will again be guity.

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