Why did Tom Robinson try to escape jail?

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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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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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