December 13

“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.”

Tonight please read chapters 20 and 21 of To Kill a Mockingbird.   Then write your response.  Please consider the following questions:

  • What passage or passages strike you as interesting or singular and why?
  • What topics do you want to discuss with the class tomorrow?
  • Why do you think these topics may generate interesting discussion?

As always, please use standard written English in your comment and respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

Two reminders:  Keep annotating and review those flash cards!  Make sure you quiz yourself each and every night, once or twice on the words.  If you do, you are sure to ace the vocabulary section of our Mockingbird assessment.

TKM blog #9


Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

Posted December 13, 2018 by equinson in category To Kill a Mockingbird

34 thoughts on ““Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.”

  1. Myles Ng

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . .’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.”

    The outcome of this case shows just how biased and racist the jury is. Atticus gave plenty of compelling evidence to show Tom was innocent beyond all reasonable doubt. The fact that the jury chose the white side of this case just shows and reinforces the fact that this jury, along with most people at the time, are highly racist. Also in the four votes the judge read off, all were guilty, not one of them were innocent. Even though Atticus had great evidence, he could not prevent racial prejudice from seeping in and influencing the jurors’s votes.

    Reply
  2. Maddie

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty… guilty… guilty… guilty…’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each ‘guilty’ was a separate stab between them.

    The chapters we read tonight were ones that I found extremely important to the story. In this passage, Jem finds out the crushing truth that Atticus lost the case and Tom Robinson will be sentenced to death. This goes to show that even though they had all the right evidence to prove that Tom was innocent and Bob Ewell was guilty, the jury was racist and convicted Tom. They are unfair and unjust towards Tom, and don’t seem to care about the obvious fact that he is innocent. No matter how good a job defending Tom Atticus could have done, he still would have been sentenced.

    Reply
  3. Emily

    “I must have been reasonably awake, or I would not have received the impression that was creeping into me. It was not unlike one I had last winter, and I shivered, though the night was hot. The feeling grew until the atmosphere in the courtroom was exactly the same as a cold February morning, when the mockingbirds were still, and the carpenters had stopped hammering on Miss Maudie’s new house, and every wood door in the neighborhood was shut as tight as the doors of the Radley Place. A deserted, waiting, empty street, and the courtroom was packed with people… I saw something only a lawyer’s child could be expected to see, could be expected to watch for, and it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty.” (p. 281-282)

    This scene takes place right before the readers discover the unfortunate verdict that Tom Robinson has been declared guilty. This nights reading contained many crucial details but I found this particular scene to be interesting because it makes a reference to the theme of the mockingbird once again. The previous time that a mockingbird was discussed was when there was a rabid dog on the street. In that scene, Lee writes that “Nothing is more deadly than a deserted, waiting street. The trees were still, the mockingbirds were silent, the carpenters at Miss Maudie’s house had vanished.”(p. 125) The most obvious difference between these two scenes is that in the one with the rabid dog, Atticus ends up killing it but in this courtroom Atticus is powerless against it. This makes one wonder the significance of the mockingbird and the rabid dog. To begin, the imagery of a rabid dog is a symbol of racism that is prevalent throughout the novel. Racism is a horrible and seemingly unstoppable force, just like the dog. Most people cower in their houses, hiding from racism but a select group of people, including Atticus, are trying to do something to stop it. In February, Atticus was able to stop the dog. Then, he was able to combat racism, but now in the courtroom, he is defenseless. Through Atticus, Lee is showing that the power of a corrupt jury is too powerful for someone to defeat racism. She is trying to open the eyes of society to the horrors of racism and show that one person is not strong enough to stop racism, but instead everyone needs to come together in order to defeat this rabid monster.

    Reply
  4. Laila Sayegh

    “I shall be brief, but I would like to use my remaining time with you to remind you that this case is not a difficult one, it requires no minute sifting of complicated facts, but it does require you to be sure beyond all reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant. To begin with, this case should never have come to trial. This case is as simple as black and white.”

    In this quote, Atticus describes this trial to be “as simple as black and white.” When he says this he means that it is clear to see the true side of the story. Basically saying, you can’t deny the facts. I agree but I also interpreted that saying as something else because if you think about it, the case really is as simple as black and white. It is almost like this large debate, not based on views, but on skin color. The white people are going to support Mayella no matter what evidence is used against her, and the black people of the town are also going to support Tom Robinson no matter what. This court case is no longer about who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, and evidence, it’s simply just a line being drawn in the sand between two races and it’s as straightforward as that. When the judge continuously reads that all of the white jury claimed Tom to be guilty it just further proves that they aren’t even open-minded enough to consider the other side of the case because it’s supporting a black man. Therefore, when Atticus says the case is “as simple as black and white”, it really is.

    Reply
    1. Emma Garbowitz

      I agree with you completely that the case should’ve been as easy as listening to the facts and coming up with a verdict. However, the court based it off of more aspects; including the color of Tom Robinson’s skin.

      Reply
  5. Emma Garbowitz

    “What happened after that had a dreamlike quality: in a dream I saw the jury return, moving like underwater swimmers, and Judge Taylor’s voice came from far away and was tiny. I saw something only a lawyer’s child could be expected to see, could be expected to watch for, and it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty.”

    When Scout said this, I immediately began to think of the dog that Atticus shot in the middle of the road. He killed the dog and saved everyone from danger. When we discussed this in class, we all said how the dog represented racism and how Atticus “ended it” by shooting it and killing it with his gun. The text states, “In front of the Radley gate, Tim Johnson had made up what was left of his mind. He had finally turned himself around, to pursue his original course up our street. He made two steps forward, then stopped and raised his head. We saw his body go rigid.
    With movements so swift they seemed simultaneous, Atticus’s hand yanked a ball- tipped lever as he brought the gun to his shoulder. The rifle cracked. Tim Johnson leaped, flopped over and crumpled on the sidewalk in a brown-and-white heap. He didn’t know what hit him.” This is showing how Atticus shot the dog and was “ending racism”. Although this might just be a symbol, I found it reappear throughout this chapter. After Scout thought about how Atticus tried to shoot but the gun that was not loaded, it made me think, no matter what Atticus does, or tries to do, he can never fully end racism, let alone win this trial. He will still have to face the problem of racism as best as he could and there was nothing he could do about it. Throughout the trial Scout almost knew that Tom Robinson and Atticus didn’t have a chance to win because people would just hate on black people, even when they did nothing wrong. It’s not like they are going to take a black person’s word over a white person’s; even if they are the dirty, disgusting Ewells. Atticus did everything in his power to win this case but it all came down to Tom Robinson being black and the Ewells being white. Clearly, racism did not end, and it seems as though it won’t end anytime soon as well.

    Reply
    1. MadiR

      I agree that although Atticus tried racism could not end just because and during the trial and I think Atticus knew it all along.

      Reply
  6. Kate Ma.

    “Calpurnia marched us home:- skin every one of youalive, the very idea, you chidren listening to all that! Mister Jem, don’t you know better than to take your little sister to that trial.. ain’t fittin for children to hear..”

    This passage interested me because I find it confusing as to why children shouldn’t attend the trial. I understand that what the trial was on was unfitting for children, yet Atticus said so much more than the topic of sexual harassment. The speech that Atticus delivered was so important that I think everyone should hear weather your black, white, child, adult, male or female. I think that children from an age at which they can understand the speech should hear it and learn proper respect. When your an adult it’s much harder to change your views on something that you’ve believed in for your whole life. Yet, look at Mrs. Dubose- she fought her addiction in the last months of her life so that gives hope to the white adults to fight their racist views. I don’t understand why children should be sheltered from the reality of the world, especially Atticus’s children as it’s Atticus’s reality. Although Atticus, Tom and the black people lost the case, Atticus was able to deliver that inspiring speech, that not only did the characters of the novel learn from, the readers did as well.

    Reply
    1. Mikayla Friedman

      While I understand why Atticus thought it was unfit for children to be listening to the trial, I completely agree with you on how everyone should have heard his speech. Everyone could learn from it and become a better person as a result of listening to the speech, which was barely even on the topic of the case.

      Reply
  7. jaclynl

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty… guilty… guilty… guilty…’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each ‘guilty’ was a separate stab between them. (p. 282)

    These past few chapters have been extremely important to the story. Although this may be Tom Robinson’s trial, it is also a test of Maycomb and how racist they really are. Even after Atticus presented convincing evidence, not one “innocent” was said. After all, Tom Robinson is of color, which is why it was going to be difficult from the beginning. This paragraph again shows how people in the jury, and the town of Maycomb are extremely racist. No matter what Atticus did, or how good his evidence was, he would not have been able to win this case with a biased jury.

    Reply
    1. trinityt

      I agreed that Maycomb and the jury is racist. The reason why they said Tom Robinson was guilty was because he’s black and Mayella is white. They made their judgement based on skins’ colors, not based on evidence, which is not how justice works.

      Reply
  8. Mikayla Friedman

    “‘. . . confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption – the evil assumption – that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women…
    Which, gentleman, we know is in itself a lie as black as Tom Robinson’s skin, a lie I do not have to point out to you. You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women – black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men. There is not a person in this courtroom who has never told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there is no man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire.'” (p. 273)

    Atticus’s entire final speech to the court jumped out at me, but these particular statements really moved me. Atticus has made a point here that could possibly change the morals of Maycomb. Atticus is saying that all of the horrible reasons that white men think make African Americans a inferior race is true about all races of human beings, regardless of the color of their skin. All people lie, and all human beings have somewhat twisted morals, so therefore this should not be a reason to discriminate against any race. If we did judge people who do this (in my opinion we do!), then the world would have humans that looked on each other as lesser than they are. These horrendous qualities are possessed by men of every size, color, shape, ethnicity, nationality, etc.
    The jury knows that Tom Robinson is innocent, but the case was in their hands to decide if they wanted to face the backlash of a racist town by convicting Bob Ewell of the crime. I thought Atticus’s speech was powerful enough to convince the jury not to convict Tom for the sole reason of his skin color. I thought his speech should have moved the jury so that they were not afraid of stepping into unmarked territory by believing a black man over a white woman, but unfortunately I was wrong. Atticus’s speech, which definitely had correct morals and virtues, was not enough to convince the jury to declare Tom Robinson innocent. Instead, they convicted him of a crime, when most of the courtroom was aware of his innocence.

    Reply
  9. janem

    I had a feeling that I shouldn’t be here listening to this sinful man who had mixed children and didn’t care who knew it, but he was fascinating. I had never encountered a being who deliberately perpetrated fraud against himself. But why had he entrusted us with his deepest secret? I asked him why.

    “Because you’re children and you can understand it.” (p. 268)

    Mr. Dolphus Raymond is a controversial person in Maycomb county because he is always around the black people of the town. His explaination of why he lives the way he does and Scout’s reaction stuck out to me. He is one of the few people in Maycomb county that isn’t extremely racist, he has a black wife and mixed children. He doesn’t see people for their race. His beliefs are very similar to Atticus in this way. But despite Atticus’ belief in not being racist, Scout is repulsed by Mr. Raymond’s explaination. Although Atticus and Mr. Raymond are so similar in some ways, Scout thinks it to be not human-like to live as Mr. Raymond does, breaking the social rules of how to be around someone of a different race. She doesn’t realize that her father has a similar mind. She is willing to listen and obey Atticus, yet thinks of Mr. Raymond as a “sinful man” because he lives his life not afraid to share his beliefs.

    Reply
  10. MadiR

    “I’m no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system—that is no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality. Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury. A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up”

    This passage at the end of chapter 20 intrigued me. Atticus condemns the Jury themselves in his closing remarks because of what he suspected was the decision they were to make. Although Atticus did a great job proving Tom Robinson innocent he could tell the jury was going to decide Tom was guilty. Atticus tried to encourage the jury to do what was right and not what was expected of the white people. When the jury decided to follow the dictates of society Atticus’ final speech condemns the jury because they have proven themselves to be faulty. This therefore threatens the justice system and its equality.

    Reply
  11. stephaniec

    “Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on the jury. A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up.” (p. 274)

    In this passage Atticus said that although there was no factual evidence that Tom was in the wrong, the decision was in their hands now. Furthermore, the decision that the jury would make will reflect on who they were as people and most importantly reflect the racism of the town. Since the jury declared Tom guilty, when in fact there was no substantial evidence against him, it proved that the jury would never choose a black man over a white women.

    Reply
  12. Sophie

    “Our courts have their faults, as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal.” (p. 274)

    Unfortunately, Atticus and Tom did not win the case. It was a shame to see Atticus work so hard and prove such obvious points, only to loose. However, before the decision was made, Atticus made a wise speech about morality and ethnicity with hopes to convince the judges to decide innocent. He spoke a lot about the inequalities of whites and blacks. How whites can make mistakes and its okay, but once a black man makes that mistake it turns into hatred and violence. He also spoke about courts. How in every court all men are created equal, and should be treated equal. Even though barely anybody in Maycomb town really believes that statement, he still includes it to add a sense of good and show that him (Atticus), and Tom are not bad people, and they deserve the same chance of winning innocence as the white people (Mayella and Mr Ewell) do.

    Reply
  13. Sunna

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . .’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.”

    This case showed just how absolutely racist Maycomb is. To many, it seems like a cozy town where everyone is there for each other. However, most white people are only there for each other. Black people have a completely different experience than white people, and this case showed that. All of the evidence shows that Tom is innocent, yet simply the color of his skin immediately makes people think that he’s guilty. His entire life and reputation is destroyed, simply because of his race.

    Reply
      1. Zoe

        I agree that Maycomb has a different side to it that they try to hide but has been revealed over the last few chapters. Great analysis.

        Reply
  14. Brishti Sarkar

    “Gentlemen,” he was saying, “I shall be brief, but I would like to use my remaining time with you to remind you that this case is not a difficult one, it requires no minute sifting of complicated facts, but it does require you to be sure beyond all reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant. To begin with, this case should never have come to trial. This case is as simple as black and white.” (p. 271)

    This is a paragraph from the speech Atticus gives the jury before they make their verdict. I found this passage interesting because of the symbolism in the last paragraph. Atticus says that the case “is as simple as black and white”. In this time period, white people were treated as “normal” and the black people were treated as “inferior”. Therefore, there were many stereotypes created that they were evil, stupid, and committed crimes. These ideas are not necessarily true, and Atticus states that “…this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of man” (p. 273). What he is saying is that some humans are bad, but one race is not worse than the other. What Atticus means when he says that the case is as simple as black and white is that the case was between the guilty and the innocent, not the color of their skin. It is also ironic, because the jury found Tom Robinson guilty, not because he actually was, but because he was black. Atticus hoped that the jury would be moved by the facts of the matter, and not to be blinded by their hate. He was found to be wrong.

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  15. Hannah M.

    In these two chapters, 20 and 21, the case finally ends. As we knew, Tom Robinson was convicted, even though he was, in fact, really innocent. I found Atticus’s closing statement the interesting part of the chapters. His closing statement showed how much time, effort, and thought he had put into the case. Atticus actually cared about the case, and Tom. I often thought whuile reading that if there was a different person supporting Tom on the case, would they even try or care for him and fight for his freedom? Maybe if Atticus gave up on the case or didn’t try to help Tom people wouldn’t show so much hatred toward him But Atticus, being Atticus, didn’t care about what people thought about him, and actually tried. He wanted to make an impact on the jury, and I think that his final statement showed that.

    Reply
  16. Zoe

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . .’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.”

    This turning point in the story is not only incredibly important for another turning point in Scout. As we have talked about before, the mockingbird can be seen as a symbol of innocence. As for Scout, she can be seen as the mockingbird with her childish and innocent way of viewing the court case. When Atticus talks about how you can’t shoot the mockingbird, it symbolizes that no one has touched Scout’s childhood innocence and Atticus was still protecting them from the truth of the world. However, once Atticus finds out they had snuck out to see the case unfold, he sends them back for lunch but allows them to come back because he believes they can protect themselves. Although this seemed smart at the time, on further consideration it allowed Scout to witness the jurymen refusing to look at Tom. At this point, Scout’s innocence had been completely destroyed, or in other words, the mockingbird was shot. Before it was announced, Scout knew that he was guilty right away. In this way, chapters 20 and 21 allowed a real turning point to the story and the mockingbird to be killed.

    Reply
  17. Casey

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . .’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.”

    In chapters 20 and 21, the court case is finally over and Tom Robinson is declared guilty. This is shocking to Jem and Scout for multiple reasons. It was clear to Jem from the beginning of the trial that Tom Robinson was clearly not the one to blame for Mayella Ewell’s injuries. Every time Atticus got closer to proving the Ewells wrong, Jim was on the edge of his seat saying thing such as ‘We got em” which is why it was devastating to him when Atticus and Tom lost. Scout was also surprised by the results of the case. To Scout, it was obvious who was innocent and who was guilty. Since Scout was so young, she could see right through all the biased opinions of the jury. She couldn’t see how something as simple as the color of your skin, which you can’t change, could send an innocent man to jail.

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  18. trinityt

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty…guilty…guilty…guilty…’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each ‘guilty’ was a separate stab between them.” (p.282).

    This passage is important because it shows how racist Maycomb really is. Even though Atticus showed convincing evidence that Tom Robinson was innocent, the jury still said that he was guilty. Why? It’s because he’s black. It was clear that Mayella Ewell was the one who was wrong and Tom was innocent, yet they still picked Tom as the guilty one simply because of his skin’s color. This goes just to show that Maycomb (and the jury) are highly racist, and value the difference in skins’ color more than justice.

    Reply
    1. angelicac1

      I completely agree with your last sentence (and of course your whole response). Valuing the difference in the color of one’s skin more than justice is incredibly racist and I hope that Maycomb will eventually learn this.

      Reply
  19. angelicac1

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . .’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.”

    This event in To Kill a Mockingbird is a turning point that heavily impacted the story and many characters. Maycomb has always been a racist town, but this case really showed how racist they actually were. As shown in this case, the jury was incredibly biased because they made the decision that Tom Robinson was guilty just because of the color of his skin. Maycomb believed that the color of your skin reveals what type of person you are. This means that through Maycomb’s eyes, blacks are individuals with horrible reputations personalities and this led to the jury’s decision that Tom was guilty.

    Reply
  20. josepha4

    “Gentleman a court is no better than each of the men who sit before me on the jury.A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is no better than the men who make it up”

    This passage from the novel once again points the reader towards a sign of no hope for Maycomb to be any less racist. The factual evidence that Atticus had provided as well as his emotional plea to the jury greatly surpassed the Ewell’s shaky and unreliable story to the judge. The verdict the jury delivered proves beyond no question that a black man will never be given the same rights and respect as a white man, even if the white man behaves like trash. Due to the time it took the jury to deliver a verdict it shows a little turmoil going on within them to chose guilty and uphold Maycomb’s racist ways or chose not guilty and break free from the false statement that blacks are inferior to whites. The jury’s actions will be accepted because to prove a black man innocent is ludicrous to them. However everyone will know that they should have let him go free.

    Reply
  21. maxwellw

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty…’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.”(p.282)

    This scene shows how biased and racist the town of Maycomb really is. Despite all the evidence and conjecture needed to prove Tom isn’t guilty, and they still attempt to convict him.

    Reply
  22. Hannah Pitkofsky

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . .’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.”

    This shows how racist and unfair the jury was at the time that the novel of TKAM takes place. As soon as they see a black person, they automatically say that they are guilty, even if they aren’t and the other side of the argument is wrong, however, it is being said by a white person which makes them right in the eyes of the jury.

    Reply
  23. Hannah Pitkofsky

    “I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: ‘Guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . . guilty. . .’ I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.”

    This shows how racist and unfair the jury was at the time that the novel of TKAM takes place. As soon as they see a black person, they automatically say that they are guilty, even if they aren’t and the other side of the argument is wrong, however, it is being said by a white person which makes them right in the eyes of the jury. The town of Maycomb is extremely racist and this is just proving a fact that we already knew.

    Reply

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