Test Prep Material

Click Here




Kill a Mocking Bird


The Author
Chapter 1
Chapter 2-3
Chapter 4-5
Chapter 6-8
Chapter 9-11
Chapter 12-13
Chapter 14-15
Chapter 16-17
Chapter 18-19
Chapter 20-22
Chapter 23-25
Chapter 26-27



Chapters 20, 21 and 22


Dill and Scout leave the courtroom and Dill is upset about the way in which the prosecutor, Mr. Gilmer treated Tom Robinson. They meet Dolphus Raymond, a rich white man from a long-established family, and he is drinking from a paper sack. His reputation as a drunkard is well known and when he offers them a drink they are surprised to see that it is Coca Cola.  He tells the children that he pretends to be a drunkard so that he does not receive criticism concerning his relationship with a black woman.

Dill and Scout reenter the courtroom in time to hear Atticus presenting his closing speech. He emphasizes that there is no proof that a rape ever occurred since a doctor never examined Mayella. He then explains that Tom could not have both strangled and beaten Mayella because he has only one good hand. He continues by reiterating that the prosecution has not produced any concrete evidence because it assumes that a white man's word will always win over a black man's. Atticus also outlines a case for why Bob Ewell could have beaten Mayella by showing that, in the eyes of her father, Mayella had actually committed a crime. Mayella's crime, Atticus argues, was to tempt a black man and she could not allow Tom to continue walking past her property everyday.

Atticus pleads with the jury to consider the parties involved as equals under the law. He invokes Washington and Jefferson and reminds the jury that the courtroom is America's great "leveler" (218). His case and his closing argument are very strong.

As soon as Atticus finishes, Calpurnia comes into the courtroom and hands him a note telling him that his children are missing. Mr. Underwood tells Atticus that they are in the colored balcony. Atticus tells them to go home, but they beg to be allowed to stay and hear the verdict.

They return home to eat quickly and then return to the court to find that the jury is still out. Atticus expected them to come to their guilty verdict quickly and is surprised at the delay. Evening comes and the jury is still out, and Jem is confident that they will find Tom innocent. Eventually at 11.00 o'clock that night the jury re-enters to deliver a guilty verdict. Scout noticed that as the jury entered the court none of them looked Tom Robinson in the eye; ashamed at the verdict they had come to.

The white section of the court soon disperses, but all in the colored gallery remain while Atticus collects his books and papers together. As he goes out they all rise in a gesture of respect.

Jem spends the rest of the night in tears, unable to come to terms with the verdict passed out and the clear injustice, which has been handed down to Tom Robinson.

Next day, the Finch household is inundated with baskets and parcels of food delivered from the black community.  

Miss Stephanie Crawford is gossiping with the neighbors including Miss Maudie and she tries to question Jem and Scout about the trial.  Miss Maudie rescues the children by inviting them in for some cake.

Jem is disillusioned about the residents of Maycomb having previously thought that they were the best people in the world, but having experienced the trial, he doesn’t think so any more.

Miss Maudie points out that not all the people are bigoted, for instance Judge Taylor specifically appointed Atticus instead of the regular Public Defender as he knew he would do a good job in defending Tom Robinson.

As the children return home, they find out that Bob Ewell accosted their father by spitting on him and swearing revenge.



After the verdict is announced in Tom Robinson's case, guilty, the children, as well as other members of the community, discuss and react to the verdict. Atticus and the children discuss the trial, Scout and Aunt Alexandra discuss Walter Cunningham, and Jem and Scout discuss class distinctions.

Jem is disillusioned about the residents of Maycomb having previously thought that they were the best people in the world, but having experienced the trial, he doesn't think so anymore. Miss Maudie talked to Jem about the way things had turned out in the trial. She told him that Atticus was one of the men in the world who had been born to do the unpleasant jobs for everyone else. Jem explained to her that he was disappointed in the people of his town because they'd convicted Tom. He had believed that they were better than that, and they'd let him down. But Miss Maudie pointed out that not everyone involved in the trial had wronged Tom. She pointed out that Judge Taylor had appointed Atticus to defend Tom although court-appointed defenses usually went to young lawyers in need of experience. But Jem still wasn't comforted.

It is appropriate that the children meet Dolphus Raymond outside the courthouse. He does not belong inside the court with the rest of the white people, because he does not share their guilt and prejudices. He has had to come to terms with the fact that he cannot live with his fellow whites because he cannot share the prejudice they have for the black community. He describes himself as an unhappy figure, a good man who has turned cynic without hope. He tells Scout 'you haven't seen enough of the world yet, you haven't even seen this town, but all you've got to do is step back inside the courthouse'.


Teacher Ratings: See what

others think

of your teachers

Copyright © 1996-
about us     privacy policy     terms of service     link to us     free stuff