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In To Kill a Mockingbird, is there a chapter that explains the situation of Mayella...

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memyselfandi333 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 28, 2010 at 1:24 PM via web

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, is there a chapter that explains the situation of Mayella taking advantage of Tom? (Other than the case).

I remember reading something about this in the book but I did a research project on it so I might be confusing it with this. I cannot find the chapter and am now writing an essay and need it. Help?

It needs to be the actual time it was, like when it is explaining the story as if it happened now, not from the case. Thanks!

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted October 28, 2010 at 11:17 PM (Answer #1)

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I don't think there is any part of this novel in which the events regarding Mayella and Tom are occurring in real time. The events are told in retrospect, especially the chapters you are thinking of. The events of the alleged "crime" are told through the testimonies of the characters. For example, in chapters 17, 18 and 19, we have the testimony of Bob and Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson. When Atticus questions the Ewells, we can see flaws in their stories and extrapolate what really happened. You might be referring to chapter 19, however, in which Tom Robinson testifies. When we read about his testimony, we see that Mayella has asked him several times for help, and it appears as if she has been flirtatious with him, although Tom is hesitant to come right out and say that she "came on" to him. However, from his testimony as well as Mayella's and Bob's, we can infer that Mayella had most likely "come on" to Tom and it was at that moment that her father came upon the scene. Seeing his daughter flirting with a black man caused Bob to lose his temper and strike Mayella. That is why her face is bruised. Atticus shows how Tom could not have done this because of the side of the face that is bruised. Tom has a crippled hand.

So, I think you may be thinking about chapter 19 - with Tom's testimony, but there are also hints as to what really happened beginning in chapter 16, and ending with chapter 19.

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