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To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee

THE STORY

PART TWO

CHAPTER 16

On Monday morning the trial of Tom Robinson is scheduled to begin. Atticus tells the children to stay home, but when they see the crowds heading in the direction of the court they are overcome with curiosity and sneak out of the house.

For the most part, this chapter gives you another look at the kinds of people who live in Maycomb County and a glimpse of their attitudes toward the trial. At one extreme is Scout's Aunt Alexandra, who does not even want Atticus to mention Braxton Underwood's hatred of blacks in front of Calpurnia. Alexandra believes in putting up a false front, and it makes her nervous to think that a black servant may be judging her in silence.

At the other extreme is Dolphus Raymond, a wealthy, white eccentric who has married a black woman. Mr. Raymond can get away with this only because he is rich and is rumored to be a drunkard whose judgment is clouded by whiskey.


Miss Maudie is one of the few people in town who have decided to stay away from the trial. Even Miss Maudie's nemesis the "foot-washing Baptists"- the same sect that thinks that gardening is sinful- have turned out in force. There is a carnival mood in the air, and most of the white spectators behave as though they have come out to see an entertainment.

The courtroom is so crowded that Scout, Jem, and Dill find it impossible to squeeze inside. Finally, they decide to sneak into the balcony to sit with the black spectators.  

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