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In To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Atticus question Mayella about her lack of...

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young-scholar | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted February 5, 2012 at 4:34 AM via web

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Atticus question Mayella about her lack of friends?

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 6, 2012 at 3:16 AM (Answer #1)

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Atticus questions Mayella about her lack of friends to show that she is lonely.  Mayella is stuck in the house tending the younger children.  She has little company her own age and no friends to speak of.  It is only natural that a lonely, battered young woman would reach out for companionship.  Her lack of friends shows that Tom Robinson's side of the story is plausible.  Tom says that he feels sorry for Mayella.  While the townspeople do not approve of this statement, Atticus is showing why Tom feels this way by his questions towards Mayella.  He is trying to provide reasonable doubt.  He wants to show that perhaps Mayella is being less than truthful about the events in order to please her father and spare herself shame and embarrassment.

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emi95 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted February 5, 2012 at 6:33 AM (Answer #2)

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He questions her about having no friends because he is trying to prove that the only reason she is charging Tom Robinson of rape is because she wants attention. Since she has no friends and is abused by her father, she wanted to feel as if she mattered to someone.

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