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Updated: 4/23/2020
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  • Trial: Of Tom Robinson vs. Bob Ewell
  • Bob Ewell's Testimony
  • "How do you think I sign my relief checks?"..."they're dangerous to live around, 'sides devaluin' my property..."
  • Bob Ewell
  • Atticus Questions Mayella
  • "[He] took advantage of me an' if you fine fancy gentlemen don't wanta do nothin' about it then you're all yellow stinkin' cowards!"
  • "Is this the man who raped you? How?... You were screaming all this time? Then why didn't the other children hear you?... Who beat you up Tom Robinson or your father? Didn't Bob Ewell beat you up?
  • Atticus, Tom Robinson, Mayella Ewell, Bob Ewell, and Mr. Gilmer use rhetorical appeals in the trial of Tom Robinson to present and gain support for their cases. The quality and effectivity of the appeals used by the characters are Harper Lee's way of commenting on the prejudiced societal norm of the 1950's.
  • Tom Robinson's Testimony
  • "She sorta jumped on me...she says she never kissed a grown man before...I didn't wanta harm her... I say Miss Mayella lemme out of here... I say lemme pass..."
  • Bob Ewell lacks credibility because of his low social standing. So, he relies on pathos toward the prejudiced mindsets of the men in the courtroom as he bashes on the the African American residents living near him. Despite evidence that may have pinned the beating of Mayella on him (his being left handed and her injury on the right side of her face) his appeal is effective and gains him support. However the reader is not so easily swayed and persuaded.
  • Mr. Gilmer Questions Tom Robinson
  • "I was just tryna help her out... No Suh it ain't... She was mistaken in her mind.. Scared I'd hafta face up to what I didn't do."
  • Atticus uses logos here to appeal to his audience and convince them Tom Robinson is innocent. This is effective on the reader but turns out to be ineffective on the already set minds of the jurors. Mayella appeals to pathos by crying an which makes her seem to be the victim and by insulting the pride of the jurors if they were to vote not guilty. This is less effective on the reader but definitely effective on the jurors. 
  • Atticus' Speech to the Court
  • "This case is as simple as black and white... Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal... There is one way in this country in which all men are created equal-- there is one human institution which makes a pauper equal of a Rockefeller...That institution gentlemen is a court... A court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury... I am confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence you have heard. "
  • Tom Robinson logically couldn't have commited the crime because his left hand is crippled. He tries to explain the events that really occured that day but he doesn't hold credibility because of his race, so his ethos isn't effective toward the jury. It does appeal to the reader, however.
  • Mr. Gilmer uses fallible logic to try and piece together an argument against Tom Robinson. He twists his words and questions him in a tempermental way. However, his ethos helps him get through to the jury. He is deemed more "credible" because he is white, which is of course racial discrimination. The reader is not so effectively appealed to as the jury.
  • "You're pretty good at busting up chiffarobes and kindling with one hand... Strong enough to choke the breath out of a woman and sling her to the floor... You say she's lying... Scared you'd have to face up to what you did?"
  • Atticus uses a lot of pathos at a last attempt to appeal to the jury. He appeals to their political pride when he discusses "all men are created equal" and he appeals to their better nature when he talks about being just and fair. This proves to not be effective on the jury because Atticus's credibility has been injured after siding with Tom Robinson. This speech is very effective on the reader.
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