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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What are two significant quotes from chapters 17-25 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Two important quotes from chapters 1725 of To Kill a Mockingbird include Atticus giving his closing remarks to the jury in chapter 20, which states, "She [Mayella] has committed no crime, she has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society" (Lee, 210), and Scout realizing the inherent racism in Maycomb in chapter 25. She says, "Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus had no case" (Lee, 245).

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In chapter 20, Dolphus Raymond overhears Dill crying about the way Mr. Gilmer spoke to Tom Robinson and treated him with contempt while he was on the witness stand. Dolphus Raymond understands that Dill is too naive and young to comprehend the extent of Maycomb's racial prejudice and offers him a sip of Coca-Cola to settle his stomach. After Dolphus tells the children his secret that he is not actually an alcoholic, he elaborates on Dill's emotional state by saying,
"Things haven’t caught up with that one’s instinct yet. Let him get a little older and he won’t get sick and cry. Maybe things’ll strike him as being—not quite right, say, but he won’t cry, not when he gets a few years on him." (Lee, 205)
Dolphus's comment describes the way prejudiced ideology is passed down through generations, which explains Maycomb's racist society. In the same chapter, the children listen to Atticus's closing remarks. After Atticus reviews the main points of the case, he describes Mayella Ewell's primary motivation to falsely accuse Tom Robinson of assaulting and raping her. Atticus tells the jury,
"She [Mayella] has committed no crime, she has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with." (Lee, 210)
Mayella broke the "'time-honored code'" of tempting a black man, which is considered a taboo in Maycomb's prejudiced society. Mayella experienced guilt and shame for breaking the "time-honored code," which is why she decided to falsely accuse Tom Robinson in order to protect her reputation.
In chapter 25, Scout reads Mr. Underwood's editorial regarding Tom Robinson's tragic death. Mr. Underwood poetically likens Tom Robinson's death to the "senseless slaughter of songbirds," which underscores Tom's character as a symbolic mockingbird in the story. As Scout thinks about Mr. Underwood's article, its meaning becomes clear and Scout says,
"Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed." (Lee, 245)
Scout's epiphany indicates that she has lost her childhood innocence and is developing into a mature, insightful young girl. Scout's ability to critically analyze Mr. Underwood's article displays her maturation and understanding of the outside world.
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Two important quotes in To Kill A Mockingbird from chapters 17-25 are as follows:

In chapter 21, Scout and Jem are waiting in the courtroom to hear the jury's verdict in the case of Tom Robinson. Although Atticus has told Scout from the beginning that he is waging a losing battle in defending a black man against the charge of raping a white woman, the finality of the jury's verdict chimes like a death knell in the following quote. This makes it clear to Scout and readers that Tom will not experience the miracle of an acquittal:

Judge Taylor was polling the jury: “Guilty… guilty… guilty… guilty…”

In chapter 25, we learn of the casual way white Maycomb responds to Tom Robinson's death. After two day's they lose interest. Also, rather than try to understand Robinson as an individual, they use stereotypes about blacks they have learned that allow them to dismiss him as just another black criminal "'runnin‘ fit to beat lightnin’" to evade the law:

Maycomb was interested by the news of Tom’s death for perhaps two days; two days was enough for the information to spread through the county. “Did you hear about?… No? Well, they say he was runnin‘ fit to beat lightnin’…” To Maycomb, Tom’s death was typical.

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I have provided you with one important quote from each of your requested chapters. A good rereading should provide you with some additional ones.

CHAPTER 17.  "I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella." Bob Ewell's inflammatory remark put the courtroom in turmoil, and it took Judge Taylor "fully five minutes" to regain control.
CHAPTER 18.  "That nigger yonder took advantage of me an' if you fine fancy gentlemen don't wanta do nothin' about it then you're all yellow stinkin' cowards... the lot of you."  Mayella's final, emotional breakdown led to her storming from the courtroom, and Scout noted that she had never seen anyone show such hatred to her father as Mayella did when she ran from the stand.
CHAPTER 19"Yes, suh. I felt right sorry for her..."  This was Tom's biggest make on the stand--admitting that he, a black man, felt sympathy for a white woman.
CHAPTER 20"In the name of God, believe him."  These were Atticus' final words to the jury, but they did no good in the end.
CHAPTER 21"Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'."  Reverend Sykes' admonition to Scout showed the admiration that the African-Americans in the balcony--standing in unison--showed for Atticus.
CHAPTER 22"Tell them I'm very grateful... Tell them--tell them they must never do this again. Times are too hard."  Atticus tearfully responds to the gifts of food that he has received from Tom's supporters.
CHAPTER 23"I wish Bob Ewell wouldn't chew tobacco."  This was Atticus' humorous response to Ewell's spitting in his face after they had met on the street.
CHAPTER 24After all, if Aunty could act like a lady at a time like this, so could I.  Scout took a big step toward becoming a real lady when she followed her aunt's lead at the Missionary Circle tea after they had found out about Tom's death.
CHAPTER 25.  Mr. Underwood simple figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting or escaping. He likened Tom's death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds...  The editorial by the owner of The Maycomb Tribune referred to the theme of innocence that the mockingbird played in the novel. 

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