Now, before I begin, I urge you to set aside your prejudices for Tom Robinson and to see him as simply your neighbor. See past the color of his skin and look solely at the evidence. This man stands before you on trial for the rape of a woman, with nothing but circumstantial evidence against him. The little evidence that was produced does not even point to Tom Robinson. This man stands on trial for a crime that he did not even commit.
I ask you to look back on Mayella Ewell’s testimony. I can see how this testimony is compelling: when a woman proclaims that a man has taken advantage of her it is natural for people to feel for her. But Tom Robinson is not that man. Look back at the bruises found on Mayella’s face and neck, damages caused by someone who hits predominately with their left hand. Now look at Tom Robinson, a man with a disabled left hand that he cannot even use. It is obvious that someone caused great physical harm to Mayella Ewell, but Tom is not that man. Tom is however, a man with great character, a man that took the time out of his day to go help a woman with her chores without even a penny’s pay.
Now, look back to Tom Robinson’s testimony. Tom stated that he was asked by Mayella Ewell to help her complete some tasks on several different occasions. Tom helped her each time. On that day, the day Mayella alleges she was taken advantage of, Tom was just being helpful when he entered the Ewell house. He only entered the house because he was asked to. He had no thoughts in his mind that anything was suspicious. When Mayella kissed him he left as quickly as possible. And yes, you heard me right. Mayella kissed Tom, Tom did not kiss her. Tom, being the respectable man he is, left and did not take advantage of that situation. However, it seems that Mayella has taken advantage of hers. After Tom left, someone hurt Mayella. Rather than take the blame for kissing Tom, Mayella instead manipulated the situation. She knew that most jury’s would not see past the color of Tom’s skin and would immediately convict him, regardless of the evidence. But you are not a jury that will do that. You are a jury that will simply see Tom as a person. You are a jury that will unravel the manipulation of Mayella Ewell.
This trial is coming to a close. The decision of Tom’s fate rests in the hands of you, the jury. Tom is a man with a wife and children, like many of you. Tom works for a living like many of you. Tom is a man who felt “sorry” for a woman and helped her do her chores. How many of you would have let a woman to chop wood by herself? How many of you would have done what Tom did and helped out? The only thing this trial has displayed is that Tom Robinson is a good man. There is no evidence that he took advantage of Mayella Ewell at all. Now I urge you to look at the evidence supplied today and make the right decision regarding this trial and Tom’s fate.
To Kill a Mockingbird. Dir. Robert Mulligan. By Horton Foote. Perf. Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, and Phillip Alford. Universal-International, 1962. Web. 14 Sept. 2016