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as Chapter 18 that Harper Lee"s novel To death a Mockingbird begins, Mayella Ewell, the grown daughter the the town"s most virulently racist and also repugnant individual, is called to the witness was standing in the psychological of Tom Robinson, the african American accused that raping Mayella. In the ahead chapter,...

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As thing 18 of Harper Lee"s novel To death a Mockingbird begins, Mayella Ewell, the get an impression daughter the the town"s many virulently racist and repugnant individual, is called to the witness was standing in the trial of Tom Robinson, the afri American accused that raping Mayella. In the ahead chapter, Bob Ewell, Mayella"s father, testified the he heard his daughter screaming and also saw Tom operation away. Native the opening chapters that To death a Mockingbird, Lee"s young narrator, Scout, has noted that the Ewell household is distinguished by your abysmal hygiene and also disdain because that education. Bob, the father, is a drunk and also a racist, and he is well-known for the way in which the raises his children, through Mayella, the oldest, forced to bear the load of giving what domestic stability exist while her father drink away what tiny money castle have. When, in chapter 17, Bob Ewell testifies in the rape trial, the is disrespectful in the direction of the court and, it is assumed and also later validated, lying in spite of being under oath.

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When Tom Robinson"s defense attorney, Atticus Finch, is presented with the possibility to cross-examine Mayella, he is may be to attract out of the uneducated, ignorant young mrs the truth of her father"s abusive nature--key come undermining her case to have actually been raped through Tom. Atticus knows the it was physically improbable if not impossible for his client to have actually raped the full-grown and physically formidable Mayella, together Tom, it will certainly be revealed, has a crippled arm. Atticus also strongly suspects the it was Bob Ewell himself who beat and possibly raped his daughter. His task, then, is to attract out of Mayella the truth about her father, despite the are afraid she hold of Bob"s retribution have to she fail come stick come her highly improbable story. The very first instance of this occurs with the following exchange:

“Do you love her father, miss Mayella?” was his following question. “Love him, whatcha mean?” “I mean, is he an excellent to you, is he straightforward to acquire along with?” “He does tollable, ‘cept as soon as –“ “Except when?” Mayella looked at she father and also he sat up straight and also waited for her to answer. “Except as soon as nothin’,” said Mayella. “I said he walk tollable.”

Mayella is around to say the her father is abusive as soon as he has been drinking, i m sorry is generally the case, yet catches herself, as she will certainly again in the following passage once Atticus asks she straight-out if that was she father that beat her:

“Who beat friend up? Tom Robinson or your father?” No answer. 

While Mayella will proceed to deny the her father to be the culprit and continue to firmly insist that Tom Robinson raped her, Atticus has actually made his case. That Tom will certainly be convicted anyway, however, illuminates the level of the racism permeating the atmosphere in which Lee"s story bring away place.