To Kill a Mockingbird

What are some of the many ways that Atticus’ closing testimony is important to the book? Consider plot, setting, themes, characterization, etc.

Chapters 20-21

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Atticus' closing testimony was devoid of racism and blame; he urged the jurors to look past black and white, to find the dignity they held deep down within themselves and look at the facts not the controversy, to consider the right and wrong, not the overwhelming emotions of hatred and misconception. Speaking with the voice of hope, Atticus attempted to eradicate the bitterness and look to humanity's good qualities. His ideal argument wasn't so much to gain a verdict of innocence, as it was to build a bridge that would lead to the destruction of prejudice. Atticus didn't expect the verdict he wanted, but he did hope for it. And in a time and place where racism was at the forefront, he wanted those who were on the right side to have a reason for continued hope, an example of progress.

In Miss Maudie's own words, the town had taken “a step—it’s just a baby-step, but it’s a step.”


To Kill a Mockingbird