Tom Robinson

Use this mindmap to articulate the important qualities about the character you are studying.

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Tom Robinson by Mind Map: Tom Robinson

1. BELIEFS & vALUES

1.1. Tom believes in helping others regardless of their background.

1.1.1. "I was just try' to help her out, suh." (214)

1.1.1.1. Tom recognised that despite his and Mayella's difference in skin colour, he did what was morally right rather than what was socially acceptable.

1.2. Tom has a loving family

1.2.1. "He was married with three children." (207)

1.2.1.1. Later on in the text we can infer that Tom has a loving family by the way Helen reacts after his death.

2. ACTS LIKE

2.1. Kind

2.1.1. "You did all this chopping and work from sheer goodness, boy?" "Tried to help her, I says." (214)

2.1.1.1. He is very good natured and always has others' best interests at heart, regardless of status or skin colour.

2.2. Feeble

2.2.1. A soft husky voice come from the darkness above, "They gone?" (Tom Robinson, 169)

2.2.1.1. Tom is concerned about the confrontation near the jail before his trial.

2.3. Courageous

2.3.1. "No suh, scared of having to face up to what I didn't do" (Tom Robinson in response to Mr Gilmer's accusations, 215)

2.3.1.1. He remains true to himself the whole trial despite all the remarks and judgement he experiences during the trial.

3. MOTIVATED BY

3.1. His family

3.1.1. There aren't any quotes directly linking Tom's feelings towards his family but we get the idea that he is very much loved and respected by his wife and three children.

3.2. The welfare and respect he holds for others

3.2.1. "I felt right sorry for her, she seemed to try more'n the rest of 'em" (214)

3.2.1.1. Tom Robinson felt sorry for Mayella despite his skin colour. He helped her with various chores free of charge.

4. HOW OTHERS SEE HIM...

4.1. Tom's family and wife obviously love him very much

4.1.1. "She just fell down into the dirt. Just fell down in the dirt. Like a giant with a big foot came along and stepped on her." (261)

4.1.1.1. His wife Helen was extremely destraught after hearing about the death of Tom

4.2. The community holds no respect for him

4.2.1. "- I see that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella" (Bob Ewell, 188)

4.2.1.1. Nobody show him any courtesy or respect when they speak about him, primarily due to his race.

4.3. Dill realises the enormous disrespect that Tom is facing during the trial and realises that no-one should treat him like that regardless of race.

4.3.1. "It ain't right. Somehow it ain't right to do em' that way. Has't anybody got any business talking like that- it just makes me sick." (Dill in response to Scout saying Tom is "just a Negro" 216)

4.4. Atticus believes that Tom deserves a fair trial.

4.4.1. "The main one is, if I didn't I couldn't hold up my head in town, I couldn't represent this county in the legislature, I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again…" (82)

4.4.1.1. Atticus knows that he will not win the trial, but he feels that this case is a large moral issue and he feels responsible for allowing Tom Robinson a fair trial. This is a credit to his strength of character and respect for others.

5. LOOKS LIKE

5.1. Dark skin

5.1.1. Tom was a black-velvet Negro, not shiny, but soft black velvet. (210)

5.1.1.1. Tom's skin colour was arguably the primary cause of his troubles throughout the novel- something that he couldn't control.

5.2. Limp left arm

5.2.1. His left arm was fully twelve inches shorter than his right, and it hung dead at his side... (202)

5.2.1.1. This becomes an important part of his description when Mayella states that she has been hit in the right eye.

5.3. Young

5.3.1. "Tom was twenty-five years of age." (207)

5.3.1.1. We can assume that based on Tom's age he would not have looked much older than Mayella.

6. TEXTUAL ISSUES OR CONCERNS LINKED TO THIS CHARACTER

6.1. Tom is shot and killed, although this is a cover up for how the police actually did kill him

6.1.1. "They shot him," said Atticus. "He was running... They said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started climbing over." (256)

6.1.1.1. He was allegedly trying to escape prison, and was shot 17 times as he climbed over the fence.

6.2. Tom was a victim to the immense prejudice at the time

6.2.1. "Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella opened her mouth and screamed." (262)

6.2.1.1. Tom's case is a reflection of society's attitudes towards African Americans, and this statement tells us that no matter how obvious that Tom was telling the truth, his fate was already sealed.