In this essay I will prove why, Tom (Robinson) was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth, and what reasons there were for his unfair trial in the racist and prejudice Maycomb County. Tom Robinson was accused of raping Mayella Ewell and although of unconvincing evidence he was still put on death row by the racist jury, as they would have done of any other man with dark coloured skin. The time period of the book revolves around the 1930 s, a time of great racism in America and is set in the states of the Deep South where prejudicial rights for the whites received great support.
In Maycomb itself racism was rife, and the case of Tom Robinson proves this. All the characters in, To Kill A Mockingbird are racist at some point except for Atticus. It seems that, although the people believe strongly that they are better than the blacks, they do not show this at any point to people of their own race other than their closest family unless they are supposed to, and example of the time to show this is during Tom s trial, I said come here, nigger when Mayella Ewell is testifying. Evidence of the characters not showing their racist side to one another can be strongly seen in the ladies of Maycomb, such as Aunt Alexandra, Stephanie Crawford and Mrs. Merriweather. This becomes apparent when Mrs. Merriweather talks about,
those poor Mrunas, and, Living in that jungle with nobody but J. Grimes Everett.
This shows that she feels sorry for them but they only have J. Grimes Everett, the only white person to keep them under control. However the tone that this is said in makes it sound as if Everett is no better than the blacks himself, and Mrs. Merriweather only says this with such sympathy in front of the ladies, when it is needed. On the other hand, in the same conversation, she comments on, That darky s wife. Which can be considered as a very racist comment. Although, not racist by any of the ladies language in private. Their means of conversation is that of a competition and it seems that calling a black person a darky is only done so that they do not have to use nigger or Negro . Their aim is to talk more genteelly than the other and their wording is still just as racist as when using more offensive words. It also shows that she is hypocritical. She can be sympathetic towards the Mrunas, but treats the blacks in her own community with utter disregard.
The racist and prejudiced views of the adults spread down the generations instantly and even the youngest of children have a racist side. With Jem and Scout it is not so evident, but it is still present. It is evident when they talk about Dolphus Raymond and his mixed chillun .
This has some racist sense in it because Jem knows that he won t accept a mixed child in his home but does have a fair mind to things like the trial, so he would not give a guilty verdict just by judging on the colour of skin.
Racism is noted throughout the book, and the white community disrespect the blacks in many ways and believe in strong prejudice. An example of this is on page 125 when it comments on the First Purchase African M.E. Church. The reason for the disrespect from the white people is because,
Negroes worshipped in it on Sundays and white men gamble in it on weekdays.
This shows that the white men carry out a sinful act in the black people s place of worship and they have to accept it. Other evidence of the racism evident in Maycomb is at the end of the Tom Robinson s trial when the verdict is given,
Guilty guilty guilty guilty
is repeated by the judge to make the people accept the racist and wrong verdict as he isn t racist and is also trying to defend Tom s rights. He says these words in a slow, sad manner as he cannot believe or understand the meaning behind the verdict either due to the strong evidence defending Tom Robinson.
The above is all evidence of the racism and prejudice that occurred in Maycomb during the 1930 s and proves that Tom had no chance from the moment he even put his foot inside the Ewell s property. In the secret courts of men s hearts Atticus had no case. This means that people knew the story through and through with no doubt, but the racist courts and hearts of men knew that he would be guilty no matter what the evidence in favour for Tom was. The people in Maycomb who were not racist such as the judge did not have the power or the guts to defend Tom; it was all up to the jury s decision. The racist attitude from all of the cultures of Maycomb, from the prim and proper ladies to the small and young minds of the children projected and predicted that it was impossible for Tom Robinson to obtain a fair trial unless, the jury consisted of twelve 10 year old boys.