To Kill A Mockingbird – Justice Quotes

“Atticus, you must be wrong….” “How’s that?” “Well, most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong….” “They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” (11.54-57) Majority rule doesn’t determine individual standards of right and wrong, but what about community standards? Isn’t that what a jury does, vote on what is just in a particular case?
“You goin’ to court this morning?” asked Jem. […] “I am not. ‘t’s morbid, watching a poor devil on trial for his life. Look at all those folks, it’s like a Roman carnival.” “They hafta try him in public, Miss Maudie,” I said. “Wouldn’t be right if they didn’t.” “I’m quite aware of that,” she said. “Just because it’s public, I don’t have to go, do I?” (16.40-48) While Tom’s trial is on the one hand a major moment for (the denial of) civil rights in Maycomb, it’s also perceived as entertainment. Miss Maudie’s refusal to attend is also a refusal to join the group of people who see the trial as a fun day out.
So far, things were utterly dull: nobody had thundered, there were no arguments between opposing counsel, there was no drama; a grave disappointment to all present, it seemed. Atticus was proceeding amiably, as if he were involved in a title dispute. With his infinite capacity for calming turbulent seas, he could make a rape case as dry as a sermon. (17.56) The battle between prosecution and defense is also a battle between emotion and reason. Atticus’s calm, rational demeanor provides a model for how he hopes the jury will behave.
As Judge Taylor banged his gavel, Mr. Ewell was sitting smugly in the witness chair, surveying his handiwork. With one phrase he had turned happy picknickers into a sulky, tense, murmuring crowd, being slowly hypnotized by gavel taps lessening in intensity until the only sound in the courtroom was a dim pink-pink-pink: the judge might have been rapping the bench with a pencil. (17.95) While Atticus tries to keep the case in the realm of legal logic, Ewell blatantly appeals to hate and fear. His effect on the crows suggests that his approach rings a very loud bell with them, though Judge Taylor’s ability to calm them down implies that they might be open to the other side’s persuasion as well.
“I’m not a very good man, sir, but I am sheriff of Maycomb County. Lived in this town all my life an’ I’m goin’ on forty-three years old. Know everything that’s happened here since before I was born. There’s a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it’s dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr. Finch. Let the dead bury the dead.” (30.60) In Heck Tate’s eyes, justice has been carried out in the death of Ewell, and looking too closely at how that came about does no one any good.

You Might Also Like