To Kill a Mockingbird: Chapters 18-23

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12735

The U.S. justice system guarantees a trial by a jury of the accused's peers, people that are supposed to be impartial and equal with the accused. Does that system always work? Will it work for Tom?


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Have you seen the statue of Lady Justice? She doesn't see you! Why does the statue of Lady Justice wear a blindfold?

In the United States, the statue of Lady Justice is typically portrayed holding a pair of scales while blindfolded.

As justice is being weighed, the lady is blinded to represent how all who come before the law are supposed to be treated equally.

  • How "blind" do you think that law and the justice system are in the United States today?
  • Do you think that the United States' justice system differs today in any respect from its past? Why or why not?

There are many conflicting viewpoints about the state of today's legal system, even among attorneys themselves.

  1. Read the following blog entries written by lawyers to get a glimpse of the discussion of whether justice in the United States is really blind within the legal profession.
  2. As you read, choose one entry with which you agree and one with which you disagree.
  3. In your notebook or journal that you have been keeping for this series, write a paragraph explaining why you agree with the one entry and one paragraph explaining why you disagree with the second entry.
  4. Now, read the blog entries posted for the article, Is The Justice System Really Blind? Experts Weigh In, by Andrew Ostler, from Law Crossing.
  5. When you've finished writing your response, move on to read the novel.

In this lesson, you will read about the conclusion and outcome of Tom Robinson's case. At the end of the previous Related Lesson (right-hand sidebar), the first two witnesses in the case had been called.

  • Did you believe either of the characters' testimonies? Why or why not?

Reflect on their testimonies, actions, and appearance on the stand as you read Chapters 18 thorugh 23 in the novel. Use the copy of the novel that you obtained for the first lesson in this series. As you read, take notes on the two remaining witnesses.

  • What information do they provide to the court?

Once the jury reaches a verdict, reflect on the town's reaction. Take notes and write your general impressions when you have completed the reading for this lesson.

Now, move on to the Got It? section to check your knowledge of these chapters and further explore the theme of justice.

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