To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 17 Quotes Page 2

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Quote 4

"There has been a request," Judge Taylor said, "that this courtroom be cleared of spectators, or at least of women and children, a request that will be denied for the time being. People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for, and they have the right to subject their children to it, but I can assure you of one thing: you will receive what you see and hear in silence or you will leave this courtroom, but you won't leave it until the whole boiling of you come before me on contempt charges. (17.97)

Women are here put in the same category with children as beings in need of protection, whose delicate ears should be shielded from sordid reality. What? You say that rape is something women have to worry about experiencing more than men? Pshaw. They still shouldn't be allowed to hear about it.

Gone was the terror in my mind of stale whiskey and barnyard smells, of sleepy-eyed sullen men, of a husky voice calling in the night, "Mr. Finch? They gone?" Our nightmare had gone with daylight, everything would come out all right. (17.56)

In the controlled, familiar environment of the courtroom, Scout isn't scared, but Tom is as much in danger of his life there as he was that night in jail. What makes her feelings so different? Why does this space seem safe?

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