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In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, how did Tom Robinson, the African-American...

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myalla | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 18, 2009 at 9:55 AM via web

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In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, how did Tom Robinson, the African-American accused of raping Mayella, show acts of kindness?

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted December 18, 2009 at 10:56 AM (Answer #1)

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In Harper Lee's story "To Kill a Mockingbird" Tom Robinson is falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell.  Tom is a black man who does various chores for people in the town.  He was hired to fix something for Mayella. She then states he raped her when he went inside the house.  They are a poor family with a father who is a drunkard who doesn't hold down a job and abuses his children.  Tom is aware of how the Eewells live and act but he is kind enough to try and help them.  When Mayella kisses Tom he does not push her because he does not want to hurt her.    He has worked in the fields for Dea and never given him any trouble.  During the trial Mr. Dea's testifies that Tom is a good man.

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

Posted December 18, 2009 at 10:32 AM (Answer #2)

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Tom Robinson's kind actions toward Mayella Ewell is what got him arrested in the first place in Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Tom had visited Mayella quite a few times before he was accused of attacking her. He had responded to Mayella's request that she help him "bust up a chiffarobe," and he even refused the nickel payment that she offered him. On the stand, Tom admits to Atticus that he went to see Mayella "lots of times."

"Seemed like every time I passed by yonder she'd have some little somethin' for me to do... I was glad to do it. Mr. Ewell didn't seem to help her none, and neither did the chillun.

He chopped kindling and toted water for her. On his final visit, she asked him to fix their door but, instead, Mayella kissed Tom, and he left as quickly as possible. Tom's kindheartedness proved to be his greatest weakness.

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