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"No suh, not after she offered me a nickel the first time. I wasglad to do it, Mr. Ewell didn’t seem to help her none, and neitherdid the chillun, and I knowed she didn’t have no nickels tospare.”
Tom Robinson was a very gentle and kind hearted man. Heworked solely for his family and didn't wish ill on anyone. In thisquote, Tom states that he wasn't trying to harm Mayella, he wassimply trying to help her, and he did it for no charge.
"It occurred to me that in their own way, Tom Robinson’s manners were as goodas Atticus’s. Until my father explained it to me later, I did not understand thesubtlety of Tom’s predicament: he would not have dared strike a white womanunder any circumstances and expect to live long, so he took the first opportunityto run—a sure sign of guilt."
Tom Robinson is depicted as a very polite man in the novel. This is notjust to look good in front of the judge and the jury, but because that wasthe way black people were back then. Even though they coppedconstant abuse, they generally never disrespected a white person in anyway
TEXTUAL ISSUES ORCONCERNS TO THISCHARACTER
"The only thing we’ve got is a black man’s word against theEwells‘. The evidence boils down to you-did—I-didn’t. The jurycouldn’t possibly be expected to take Tom Robinson’s wordagainst the Ewells’—are you acquainted with the Ewells?”
In Maycomb, there is a strong racial culture towards the blacks.Most of the people hate the black population and treat them asdirt. As a result, whenever one of them is accused of a crime, itis very rare for them to be proven innocent.
The Rape Case
“Old Mr. Bob Ewell accused... [Tom Robinson]of rapin‘ his girl an’ had him arrested an‘ put injail—”
Most of the Second Part of the novel revolves around the court case of Tom Robinson.The Ewell family accuses him of raping Mayella, which is a serious allegation, as italmost inevitable that he will be proven guilty. Atticus Finch seems to be one of theonly people who believe that he is innocent, even after he puts forward a case sostrong that, if Tom Robinson was white, he would probably have been proveninnocent.
“Tom Robinson's powerful shoulders rippled under his thin shirt... Helooked oddly off balance, but it was not from the way he wasstanding. His left arm was fully twelve inches shorter than his right,and hung dead at his side. It ended in a small shrivelled hand.” Page205
Even though Tom was strong he had a disability because he couldn’t use his leftarm. He looks off balance because his arm is shorter than the other. This factformed some of the evidence that showed Tom could not have hit Mayellabecause he can only use his right arm and Mayella said her attacker came upfrom behind and hit her left side which would have been impossible for Tom todo.
"Tom was twenty-five years of age; he wasmarried with three children; he had been introuble with the law before" (Scout, 210)
This quote shows that he is a family man becausehe works to feed his family and he loves his wifeand kids very much. Everything he does is for hisfamily.
HOW OTHERS SEE HIM
“When it’s a white man’s word against a blackman’s, the white man always wins. They’re uglybut those are the facts of life.” Page 243.
This quote shows us that even though the evidence suggestedthat he was not guilty they found him guilty anyway. This isbecause he is black and Mayella Ewell is a white person. The juryfound Tom Robinson guilty just because Mayella said that heraped her.
“The jury didn’t have to give him death If theywanted to they could have just given him 20years.”
This quote says that they had their minds made up before they went into thetrial. No amount of evidence that showed Tom was not guilty would havemade a difference. Because Tom Robinson was black, the jury couldn’t justgive him 20 years they had to go the full way and give him the death penalty.
Feels sorry for Mayella Ewell
Scared of being convicted
"'You did all this chopping and work from sheergoodness, boy?' 'Tried to help her... I felt right sorry forher, she seemed to try more'n the rest of 'em '" -pg 217
Tom Robinson's main motivation for helping Mayella Ewell washis pity for her. He saw her as a hardworking individual who washeld down by her family. He has no reason to go into her houseother than to help her out.
"'Mr Finch, I tried. I tried to 'thout being ugly to her. I didn't wanta beugly, I didn't wanta push her or nothin'...'Why did you run?''I wasscared, suh?' 'Why were you scared?''Mr Finch, if you was a nigger likeme, you'd be scared, too.'" pgs 214-215
"Until my father explained it to me later, I did not understandthe subtlety of Tom's predicament: he would not have daredstrike a white woman under any circumstance and expect tolive long, so he took the first opportunity to run a sure sign ofguilt" pg 215
Tom Robinson did not know what to do, as he knew that as a blackman he would be blamed for this, even though it was not his doing atall. He tries to ask he politely to move, but she refuses to let in,forcing him to run away, which gives him the appearance of a guiltyman.
Does not want to chance his lifein a 'white' court
"I guess Tom was tired of taking white men'schances and preferred to take his own." pg260
Tom attempts to escape from prison, where he is being held until theappeal. Tom tries to escape because he has lost faith in the court, andin a way lost faith in Atticus' ability to help him. He decides to take hisown chances by running, rather than waiting for the appeal to gothrough.
BELIEFS AND VALUES
It's his duty to help when he can
"'I reckon I'll hafta give you a nickel, won't I?' an I said, 'Noma'am, there ain't no charge.'" ......"I was glad to do it, MrEwell didn't seem to help her none, and neither did the chillun,and i knowed she didn't have no nickels to spare" pg 211
In this short clip, we see that Tom Robinson reallyvalues kindness, and sees that it would be unjust forhim to take money from a family as poor as theEwells.
Deep respect for God and the law
"Thomas Robinson reached around, ran his fingers under his leftarm and lifted it... his rubber-like left hand sought contact with theblack binding. As he raised his right hand, the useless one slippedoff the Bible and hit the clerk's table. He was trying again..." pg209
In this passage, we see that despite a very validexcuse for Tom to forgo the swear-in, Tom spends a lotof effort attempting to do right by the law, and by God.