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Is Mayella Ewell a victim or villain in To Kill a Mockingbird?I am writing a paper on...

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elijahajames | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 23, 2011 at 8:42 AM via web

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Is Mayella Ewell a victim or villain in To Kill a Mockingbird?

I am writing a paper on why I think Mayella is more victim than villain. i need help brainstorming for some topic sentences and quotes I could use.

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

Posted March 23, 2011 at 9:31 AM (Answer #1)

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Although Mayella is deceitful, she is also a character to be pitied as well. Her decision to falsely accuse Tom Robinson of rape is certainly a horrendous act, but she no doubt was forced to do so by her father, Bob, to cover the fact that he beat her himself. Mayella has been mistreated before by Bob, and there are overtones in the story that Bob may have had sexual relations with her himself at some point. Her extreme loneliness prompted her to invite Tom inside her home, and as she told him, since she had never been kissed before, it may as well be by him. Although Tom took off as soon as he realized he wasn't actually invited to "bust up a chiffarobe," Bob arrived before he could disappear. Bob then took out his anger on Mayella. Certainly, she is more of a villain than a victim; her accusation sent an innocent family man to jail and got him killed. However, she is also a victim of her father's own violent temperament.

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