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