If you had been on the jury, would you have had doubts regarding Tom Robinson's guilt? Explain.

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awartts's profile pic

awartts | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Certainly, because during the historical period in which the book is patterned after, African Americans knew the consequences of associating with white women and would have no doubt, regardless of their educational background, refrained from intimacy. Furthermore, the fact that Atticus proved that Robinson could not have raped Mayella by pitching a ball to prove that one arm was useless proves that a false account was given. This evidence alone should have exonerated Robinson.

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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What's more, every one on the jury is aware of Tom's innocence. They, along with the judge, are too intelligent to believe that Tom is responsible for any damage to Mayella. Mayella herself confesses on the stand that she lured Tom in the house and she contradicts herself enough to make us aware that she has concoted the whole story. Jem sums it up best, after the verdict is announced:

"How could they do it, how could they?"

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Absolutely! Any non-racist jury could not have convicted Tom. As Atticus points out, Tom's arm had been useless to him for many years due to a farming accident. It was impossible for Tom to have grabbed, choked and "taken advantage" of Mayella as she described.

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damini | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

Yes i would have had doubts i mean there was absolutely no medical evidence or anything i wouldn't have judged it right away!

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akopel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Looking at that question from the time period of the novel might result in a different answer. If I had been on that jury, in that southern town, during those years, I would have known that Tom was innocent, but might not have had the fortitude to vote against the panel. That would have hung the jury. In that small town I would be shunned, beaten or worse by that group down at Old Sarum. It would have taken someone very powerful in the community to have taken a stand for a black man. Dolphus Raymond understood what he must do to have his lifestyle with a black woman. Very few people would want to be known as a drunk just to consort with blacks. Fewer still would want to have life as they knew it completely disrupted to stand on their principles. Atticus did not expect to win the case in town; he hoped to win on appeal where the judges could make their decision based upon the law, not their feelings, or pressure from their peers.

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