"I had the bone-handle carving knife in my hand. Not for her—I don't know, just in case of something. When she run at me, I turned. She run straight up on that knife, sir. I swear I never meant to do it." (6.27)
Gracie tells Ben that she did actually kill her boss. Oops. This is a big moment for Ben, who worries about racial bias in the court system, only to find that his client lied to him. He feels betrayed when he learns she actually did the murder in the first place.
Part 3, Chapter 44
I know that my decision may strike you as a terrible mistake on my part. Yet I believe it is the only correct solution to our dilemma. We must be honest with each other and ourselves. I think it best if you do not come home at this time. I will be in touch with you by post or wire, as I begin the steps necessary to bring about a most painful but inevitable result. (44.16)
What could be more of a betrayal than when Ben's own wife ditches him? The letter from Meg wounds Ben deeply, not because he isn't anticipating it (because let's face it, he is), but because he doesn't want this news from his wife. He expects Meg to be by his side forever.
But inside, I felt another, more disturbing pain. I had been beaten and left for dead. I had disappeared from the world, and hardly anyone had come looking for me. I mattered to virtually no one. Meg. Elizabeth. My father. My daughters. Jacob, my childhood best friend. The entire town of Eudora. I had mostly been forgotten. (71.4)
Poor Ben. After his lynching, Ben is physically hurt of course, but his emotional wounds can't be stitched up. He feels that no one cares about him anymore, plus he feels betrayed by his friends and family in Eudora. They aren't there for him in the way that he wants them to be.
"Maybe you'll see that we ain't all monsters," he said. "We're just family men. We got to look out for our women and protect what's rightfully ours." (77.15)
Jacob claims this about the KKK. He believes there's nothing wrong with being a klansman because everyone in Eudora is. With that, Ben realizes just how different the two of them have become: Jacob is contributing to violence against Black people, while Ben is working hard to fight it.
If Jacob hadn't been a friend my whole life, I would have punched him right then. "Listen to yourself, Jacob. You just killed a man. Do you hear me? You killed him." (80.11)
After the hanging, Ben tries to reason with Jacob, but it does no good. Check out what he says about Jacob being his friend his whole life—it's the only thing that stops Ben from sucker punching his buddy right in the face. Even though Jacob deceived him, Ben still thinks of him as a friend and treats him that way, too.
"Elizabeth," I said. "You already are a help to me. Just knowing that I have your support and trust means everything to me." (111.11)
When she offers to help, Elizabeth seems sincere…or at least that's how she seems to Ben. We can't help but wonder whether his judgment is clouded by the fact that he was once in love with her and still thinks about her romantically sometimes, though. It's only because Ben is overly trusting that Elizabeth gets away with her twisty plot.
Sweet Jesus in heaven! Jonah and I had never discussed this with her. We had certainly never planned for her to say such a thing. But say it she had: "…and showed me their search warrant." With those words Moody changed the whole atmosphere of the courtroom and the direction of this entire murder trial. (114.1)
As Moody takes the stand, Ben and Jonah are sure they've been double-crossed. They feel betrayed by Moody because she out-right lies on the stand. But as they keep listening to Moody's plan, they realize she's actually helping them out.
The words stabbed me in the heart. I felt my throat closing and thought I might be sick. (117.11)
This is how Ben describes the feeling he gets when he finds out Elizabeth betrayed him. Of course he's bummed over the fact that he won't get to use the photos in the trial, but he's more annoyed over the fact that his part-time lover stabbed him in the back.
But I knew exactly what my father was up to. For the spectators and journalists, some of whom he had allowed into the courtroom to hear the closing arguments, Judge Corbett was showing himself to be a courageous man, boldly making a statement of racial tolerance. (123.11)
Ben sees right through his dad's schemes. It might seem like his dad wants equality, but really he's swindled Ben's quest for it from day one. Even though he and his dad aren't close to begin with, Ben feels a pang listening to his dad drum on about idealism when he thwarted it at every turn.
"How could you do this? The one man I thought I could trust!" (78.4)
Here Ben questions Jacob at the Ku Klux Klan meeting. His shock shows just how betrayed Ben feels by his friend—they used to have a lot in common, but clearly they've gone their separate ways.