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In Chapter 17 of To Kill a Mockingbird, what two major points did Atticus score in his...

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foreverlove | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 4, 2010 at 7:32 AM via web

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In Chapter 17 of To Kill a Mockingbird, what two major points did Atticus score in his favor during Heck Tate's testimony?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 4, 2010 at 7:39 AM (Answer #1)

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Atticus begins his defense of Tom Robinson by questioning Sheriff Heck Tate before going to work on Bob Ewell. The prosecutor from Abbottsville, Mr. Gilmer, determines that Sheriff Tate was first informed of the rape of Mayella Ewell by her father. On cross examination, Atticus finds that the sheriff never requested a doctor to examine Mayella. Then, he questions Tate about which eye was "bunged up." After first answering that it was "her left," Atticus interrupts.

    "Wait a minute, Sheriff," said Atticus. "Was it her left facing you, or her left looking the same way you were?"
    Mr. Tate said, "Oh, yes, that'd make it her right. It was her right eye, Mr. Finch. I remember now, she was bunged up on that side of her face..."

Then, Atticus asked Sheriff Tate about Mayella's other injuries, discovering that

"There were definite finger marks on her gullet."|
    "All around her throat? At the back of her neck?"
    I'd say they were all around, Mr. Finch."

With that, Atticus ceased his questioning of Heck Tate. He had discovered that no doctor was called (so rape could not be varified); that she was bruised under her right eye; and that there were finger marks around her neck. Atticus would later insist that Tom Robinson could not have caused the bruising, since his left arm was disabled from a farm accident. 

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