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The Trial from the Points of View of a Jury Member, Atticus Finch and Bob Ewell

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Sheehan Flatt

on 28 September 2015

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Transcript of The Trial from the Points of View of a Jury Member, Atticus Finch and Bob Ewell

Bob Ewell
It is clear that Bob Ewell and the rest of the jury found it unacceptable for a black man to win the trial. Although all evidence pointed towards Bob being guilty, he had to make sure that Tom Robinson did not win, and that none of the town would suspect that it was actually Bob who beat and raped Mayella. Even if Tom Robinson was guilty, although evidence said otherwise, Bob Ewell believes that he is better than Tom, simply because he is black. The rest of the jury also goes along with that same logic, thus Tom is convicted. Racism is still very prevalent today in this sense, many people still think they are better than other people purely because of skin colour.
Jury Member
It’s possible that a jury member would have truly believed that Tom Robinson raped Mayella Ewell, but it seems most likely that he or she would have voted Tom as guilty for one simple reason: he was a black man. It is implied that Mayella repeatedly invited Tom into her house as an attempt to seduce him. A jury member would not have been willing to accept that a white woman tried to have sex with a black man, therefore would have closed-mindedly voted Tom Robinson guilty out of racism although it was blatant that he was innocent.
Despite these facts, the jury closed-mindedly found Tom Robinson guilty although it was clear that Bob Ewell was guilty and Tom was innocent, solely due to the fact that Tom was black and Bob and Mayella Ewell were white. Though To Kill A Mockingbird had a large social impact there are still many bigots today, and we frequently hear stories about police officers killing black people without any acceptable reason. These people most likely think very similarly to the jury members, degrading black people and ignoring the fact that black people are people too, and they are equal to white people.
In To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, there are several points of view from which the rape of Mayella Ewell can be seen. This book has changed the point of view that the general public would have agreed on before its release. It opened the eyes of the public to the horrors of racism, and it opened our eyes and our minds to a new way of thinking of race and the book was crucial in sparking the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It has had a profound influence on our culture.
The Trial from the Points of View of a Jury Member, Atticus Finch and Bob Ewell
Although the jury voted Tom Robinson guilty, any member of the jury would have known that he was innocent, based on the excessive amount of clear evidence that Atticus Finch gave in Tom’s favour. They were shown how unlikely it was that Tom had beaten her based on the fact that Tom was right handed and the bruises were on the right side of her face, making it very strange and unlikely that Tom had hit her, especially since Bob Ewell was left-handed. Tom’s hand was also virtually useless due to the fact that it had been severely damaged by a cotton gin when he was young, rendering his right arm unusable. Tom had also gone out of his way to help Mayella, even though it wasn’t something he was required to do.
This is why To Kill A Mockingbird is so relevant today, and though the jury members may seem like very minor characters, they have a massive impact on the book and its message. Their closed-minded and racist mentality was largely responsible for Tom being sent to jail, which is arguably the most important event in the book, along with his murder when he tried to escape the jail. Although most readers would be against the jury’s decision, they play a major part in why the book is so powerful, the book being about the injustice that was the case of Tom Robinson, and we must acknowledge their mentality. although it only has a negative effect on the rest of the book, it is responsible for the events that have made people aware of what we were doing wrong until this book was released and the civil rights movement began, changing the way white people thought forever.
This part of To kill a mockingbird shows how Bob Ewell is a coward for not taking responsibility for his actions, and instead pushing all the blame onto black people, who he believes deserve it more than he does. From Bob Ewell's point of view it's better that Tom get arrested than he does, because he is black. Some believe that Bob Ewell's hatred towards Jim in particular, derives from how Jim is one of the only people in Maycomb that Bob is seen as better than by the rest of the town. The Ewell's are well aware that they are among the lowest of society in Maycomb, but they are still higher in society than black people.
Having an affair with a black man in those times must have been exciting for Mayella, and it would let her escape from her everyday cycle of being physically and sexually abused. That may have been Mayella's motivation for attempting to seduce Tom. It could have also been that successfully seducing him would have made her feel powerful, and that she could control him. However, this attempt for some freedom from her terrible existence ended in an innocent man being killed, and Mayella seemed to not show much sympathy for him. This shows that Mayella is also a cruel character just like Bob, willing to do anything to increase her reputation in Maycomb.
In Bob Ewell's mind, he see's blaming Jim for the rape as an opportunity. The way he see's it, framing Jim and getting him convicted will do the town good. Bob wanted to make them all believe that he is a hero, saving the town's white women from a menace who will continue his horrible crimes if not stopped. By doing that, Bob can change his social status in Maycomb, without actually doing very much work to gain it. This furthermore enforces how lazy Bob is, but how he is still willing to try to improve him and his family's reputation in Maycomb. Unfortunately for Bob, all of his plans end up backfiring thanks to Atticus. Bob is identified by the community as a man who is sexually and physically abusive, is willing to do horrible things to have a better reputation in Maycomb, a liar, and who cannot provide for his family.
Throughout the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch shows a lot of respect and tolerance for coloured people and this carries into his profession as a defense lawyer. In terms of the Tom Robinson trial, he is able to see past race to the center of the matter while jury members are biased against Tom because of his colour. Atticus finds himself in a very taught situation. Tom is a black man accused of raping a white woman and so the townsfolk of Maycomb are appalled that Atticus would choose to help the accused. Beyond the citizens publicly expressing their outrage at Atticus, they target Scout and Jem as well. Among the citizens who begin to resent the Finches (who were previously bathed in a rather pleasant light,) are even their own family, like Aunt Alexandria and Scout and Jem's cousin.
Atticus Finch
Harper Lee uses this situation as an opportunity to reveal Atticus's true integrity as he teaches his children the value of acceptance and morality along with, more directly, the idea that killing a mockingbird is a sin, which is the scene from which the title is derived. It is slowly revealed to the reader that Tom Robinson is in fact a “mockingbird,” or an innocent man. The trial generates huge public interest and people from all over, even from outside of Maycomb arrive to watch. Heck Tate recounts a memory of Bob Ewell telling him that his daughter had been raped and pleading for him to go to his house. Tate, arriving at the Ewell house, finds Mayella beaten and bleeding. Mayella claimed that Tom Robinson raped her. Atticus finds that no doctor had been called, and soon after Bob Ewell is called to the stand, he finds that he is left handed, and a left handed man would by default bruise the right side of the face. The bruising on Mayella's face was on the right side.
Atticus ultimately loses the trial but has a deeper understanding of the social mechanisms of people, particularly of those who live in the deep south. The dynamic between white people and black people in Maycomb is an unhealthy one, though it is instilled in him that it is really the whites, naive and close-minded, that have lost. The injustice in segregation and prejudice coupled with the fact that Bob Ewell, unquestionably guilty, is still able to slip through the cracks, past a man whose downfall traces back only to the colour of his skin.
In conclusion, the points of view which these people see from differ in major ways. The points of view of Bob Ewell and the jury member may be closer to what the general public would have supported before the release of To Kill A Mockingbird, but since its release, it has profoundly influenced our culture and our way of thinking, and a large majority of people today (but unfortunately not 100% of people) would see from the point of view of Atticus Finch. His point of view is more open-minded and moral. This book was key in helping the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, and it has changed the world permanently for the better.
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