Victim Blaming and to Kill a Mockingbird
People are held accountable for their own actions, until their actions are someone else’s. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, there are many examples of a so called innocent victim. For instance, Tom Robinson is an innocent victim. Although he is the alleged suspect, the trial was biased and half-true. Tom Robinson, being a black male in the 1930s, is going to get the unfair end of the deal because of the color of his skin. Tom Robinson’s alleged actions of rape to Mayella were her father, Bob Ewell’s actions. Mayella was never touched or harmed by Tom Robinson. The only reason why Tom Robinson was at the Ewell’s house was to help Mayella with chores and in return pay him with money. The trial confirms that Mayella is lonely and came up with any excuse she could come up with to try and get Tom Robinson to come over. Mayella kissed Tom and her father is there to see it. Bob Ewell beat Mayella and Tom ran away. Evidence shows that the use of a left arm was in use while beating up Mayella. Tom Robinson’s left arm and hand is withered and useless. Finger marks all around Mayella’s bruised neck indicates that two hands were used to result in her injuries. How can one leave marks all around the neck when one hand is useless? If Tom were to choke Mayella there would be marks on only one side of her neck. Rape is just a cover to hide the fact that Mayella instigated the whole thing. “Yes, suh. I felt right sorry for her, she seemed to try more’n the rest of ’em-” (Lee ___) This was the mistake Tom Robinson made, feeling sorry for a white woman. This was prohibited. After all, it is a black man’s versus a white woman’s words.
Race, sex, sexual orientation all are things we as people judge, but so is innocence. Innocence defines us as either good or bad, whether it’s lawful or emotional. The town of Maycomb, Alabama hurts the character Boo (Arthur) Radley through unfair rumors also making him an innocent victim. These harsh rumors destroyed them as a person. By everyone, Boo is thought out to be a crazy psycho locked in basement of his parent’s house. Although Boo has had his fair share of tragesties, most were for good reasons. For example, when Jem and Scout are walking home from the Maycomb Halloween festival, Bob Ewell attacks the children. Luckily, Boo Radley intervenes and saves Jem and Scout and picks a fight with Bob Ewell and results with Boo stabbing him in the ribs with a kitchen knife. When at the station, Atticus questions his own son of the death of Bob Ewell. Sheriff Tate argues with Atticus and tells him about Boo protecting and saving the kids. Throughout the book, mockingbirds symbolize the innocent. It is a sin to kill a mockingbird. (Lee 117) Atticus wants to let the town know about what Boo has done for his children. … taking the man who’s done you and this town a great service an’ draggin’ him with is shy ways into the limelight–to me, that’s a sin. (Lee 370)
Defining one’s innocence is more than the witnesses and evidence provided. The evidence and witnesses that are provided are not always fair. For example, Mayella is scared of her father. Her father often neglects her, verbally and physically. Her father threatens to beat her if she does not lie on trial. Mayella later on in the trial, admits that Tom Robinson never actually raped her. Mayella also lied because he was of a different color, even though she was head over heels for Tom. The evidence that was provided and collected is unfair. Bob Ewell claims he hears Mayella screaming like a stuck hog and when he flees into the house Mayella is lying on the floor squallin’ on the floor. When he sees her like that, he leaves her in that condition and goes to find Sheriff Tate. Atticus questions Bob Ewell about the precautions and the events after when the alleged rape took place. Atticus asks him about why wasn’t he cautious and checked for any serious injuries or why he didn’t call the doctor after he knows that his daughter was just raped. Bob Ewell exaggerated the scene too much is what the trial explains.
In our world today, hurting the innocent would make you guilty, whether you get caught or not. Today, many people are given the verdict of guilty. Most of the time, they are guilty, but in some cases, they are actually innocent and framed, just like Tom Robinson. A reason why Tom Robinson was sentenced guilty is because it was a black man’s words versus a white woman’s words. Another reason why is because Tom Robinson said that he feels sorry for Mayella. Today, no matter what color, sex, race you are, anyone can be sentenced wrong and judged in the wrong way. People lie, whether they want to get back at you, or cover up the truth. Lack of evidence or biased opinions shouldn’t matter. The truth and the real truth is all that matters to make someone’s verdict true.