To Kill A Mockingbird

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade August 2001

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To Kill A Mockingbird In the 1930's, black men are not treated fairly as the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee illustrates. A colored man, Tom Robinson, is wrongly accused of a crime. The story takes place in the 1930's in a small southern town called Maycomb. Tom Robinson is treated wrongly all of his life in the instances of his debilitating injury, his trial, and his death in prison.

During Tom's trial there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence but Tom is convicted anyway. Most of the case against him is based on the story of Mayella Ewell and her father, Bob. Bob is considered to be a cruel and filthy human being by the towns people. During the trial, Atticus Finch proves that Mayella is beaten by a left handed person. He also shows the court that Bob Ewell is left handed, and that Tom can't use his left hand.

Through this case, Atticus successfully proves Tom innocent. In fact Jem Finch states, ""¦And we're gonna win, Scout. I don't see how we can't." (202) This is evidence that the case unfolded so simply and clearly that even a child could understand that it wasn't possible for Tom to commit this crime. Tom is still convicted however.

"Scout, look! Reverend, he's crippled." are Jem Finch's words when he finds out the Tom Robinson was crippled (186). Mr. Robinson is crippled by a cotton gin that tares his arm apart and rips all the muscle from his bones. This was a common accident that happened to colored folks in the 1930's. There was a general disconcern for the well being of colored people during this time. If this happens to a white person it's a great tragedy. Reverend Sykes points out that Tom is lucky he didn't bleed to death.

Finally, when Tom is in prison, he is shot to death while trying to escape. This is the worst tragedy of all in my oppinion. Under the circumstances, a person in Tom's position would have waited for an appeal trial where they would have likely been found innocent. Tom feels, however, that because of his race he will never be found innocent. He thinks that his only hope is to free himself. This is Tom's most brave act because he continued trying after all hope was lost. He is shot to death while trying to climb a fence. I don't know exactly what force is necessary to stop a crippled man from climbing a fence but I'm pretty sure that it isn't lethal force. I can't help thinking that it would be just as easy for a prison guard to shoot someone in the leg or some other non-fatal place. Tom is shot because he is a colored man accused of rape.

In light of these reasons, Tom Robinson is treated wrongly his entire life. He's is abused because of his race and status in society. He is then accused of a crime he did not commit and sentenced in spite of it. Then, in an attempt at freedom he is gunned down and silenced. All of this happened because of his color?