Atticus says that since Jem and Scout must live in Maycomb, they should know all sides of their community. What do they learn about Maycomb from the trial? Do you agree or disagree with Atticus’ decision to let them attend the trial? Explain your view.
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Jem and Scout learn a lot from the trial. I would say that they learn three important points.
First, they learn that Maycomb is not the perfect place that they once thought. There is ugliness there, especially in the area of racism. They see this first hand at the trial. They know that Tom is innocent, but the town still says that he is guilty.
Judge Taylor was polling the jury: “Guilty... guilty... guilty... guilty...” I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.
Second, they learn that there are good people in the town, such as Miss Maudie, Heck Tate, and Judge Taylor. Miss Maudie reminds Jem of this important point.
Who?” Jem’s voice rose. “Who in this town did one thing to help Tom Robinson, just who?”
“His colored friends for one thing, and people like us. People like Judge Taylor. People like Mr. Heck Tate. Stop eating and start thinking, Jem. Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident? That Judge Taylor might have had his reasons for naming him?”
Finally, Jem and Scout learn that their father is a noble man. He put himself out there to help another man, in spite of the difficulties. Reverend Sykes reminds Scout of this:
Reverend Sykes’s voice was as distant as Judge Taylor’s:
“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin‘.”
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