To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Contributed by Sharon Fleming
Chapter 19

Tom's testimony reveals him as a gentle and caring man who occasionally helped his neighbors; the Ewells. He states that Mayella had been inviting him over the fence to perform small tasks for her, and she always made sexual advances at him. On the day in question, he assisted her, and she kissed him, but when her father saw it, he fled. Mr. Gilmer's cross-examination doesn’t change Tom's testimony. He is asked why he would do all that work without getting paid and he responds that he feels sorry for Mayella, a statement that insults the Ewells. Dill suddenly begins crying, and Jem tells Scout to take him outside to the square, where he reveals that Mr. Gilmer's cross-examination on Tom was what upset him.


It becomes clear that Tom Robinson is the mockingbird due to the fact that the mockingbird symbolizes innocence and vulnerability. We don’t have much information on him until now. Calpurnia and the people from his church refer to him as a decent and hardworking person, and it is during the trial when we actually see how selfless and good he is. His statements makes the Ewells’ statements look so weak and untrue. The author has chosen appropriate dialogues so that their honesty or lack of it is clearly evident. It makes the trial excruciating in such a way that there is a feeling that despite the truth being so clear, it will not win in the end.

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