As well as the ideas regarding the quote to which it is named, there are many other examples of symbolism and reflectionism that are used throughout ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. A primary example of this reflects around the alleged ‘crime’ and trial of ‘Tom Robinson’, a young and powerful field hand working under ‘Link Deas’. Early in the novel, we learn that he has been accused of raping a young white women, ‘Mayella Ewell”.
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The details are unclear throughout the early stages, as we must follow ‘Jean-Louise “Scout” Finch’s understanding of the events and, as a young child, she struggles understanding the alleged idea of rape and torture, naturally predisposed to follow her father’s guidance; Atticus Finch is the defense attorney representing Tom Robinson in Maycomb court lawhouse. Eventually, the reader discovers why the details have been so unknown and ‘clouded’ throughout the novel, and that is because they essentially don’t exist. When Scout, her brother ‘Jem’ and a childhood friend ‘Dill’ manage to enter the courthouse on prosecution day, they and many ‘Maycombians’ discover the truth, no matter how they may ignore it. Upon discussing the details of the trial with several witnesses, including ‘Robert Ewell’, Mayella’s father, and Mayella herself, it is clear that Tom Robinson did not commit this crime. Bob and Mayella’s testimonies are confused, details are ‘released’ and ignored between them and a clear reasonable doubt hangs heavily on the courtroom. In addition, Tom Robinson could not have inflicted the injuries, as he has a crippled left arm. Eventually Tom has to explain what really happened, and upon being asked why he ran from the ‘Ewell’ property after Robert discovered Mayella trying to seduce him, he said this; “If you were a ni**er like me, you’d run too”(261).
All of these items show the reader that Tom Robinson is the symbolic representation of racism and slavery in the South during the 1930’s. As a young man, Tom just barely missed being involved in slavery, yet he still feels the weight of its connotations and the racism upon him in every moment.
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