In the Novel to Kill a Mockingbird
How it works
Jem discovers that in court, racial biases interfere with people’s reasoning and judgement, making the court system unjust. Throughout the course of the trial, Jem grows to be very angry with how people treat Tom because of his race. After the verdict is made, he becomes especially furious. As Jem tells Atticus that they can not convict Tom of a crime he could not have physically committed, Atticus tells him that, “they could and did… In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, during Tom Robinson’s trialThe one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying resentments right into a jury box”.
Atticus is explaining to Jem that the court should be a place where justice can be achieved without any biases.
However, this is not what happens. Instead, people bring prejudices into the courtroom, creating a flawed law system. Still, it is not that people try to be unfair, but it is that their racial biases overpower their reasoning. This leads them to believe that what they want to be the truth as the truth. Atticus has been exposed to the flaws in the legal system plenty, and explains to Jem that “those are twelve reasonable men in everyday life, Tom’s jury, but [Jem] saw something come between them and reason… They couldn’t be fair if they tried. In [these] courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins”. At this time in court, a white man would always win over the black man.
This did not happen because the white man had more money, or because the jury knew the man and wished to rig the trial. It happened because prejudices that were so common and natural to them, interfered with their reasoning and judgement. Jem has not been exposed to much of this yet in his life yet. Nothing has come between him and his reasoning, causing him to notice how unjust the legal system is. Because of that, Jem sees how it is physically impossible that Tom beat and raped Mayella Ewell. Unfortunately, because the jury has a racial bias, Tom is convicted of beating and raping Mayella, even when it is obvious that he is innocent. Throughout the novel, Jem begins to understand how flawed the court system is. After witnessing an innocent man be convicted and killed, he learns that it is a racial bias that interferes with people’s reasoning and judgement that creates this flawed legal system.