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This seems to be a common thread throughout the story. Boo Radley got "hell" from his father for a juvenile prank and ended up secluded in the house for years. The townspeople even made up rumors about Boo because he didn't appear in public. The Ewells, especially Mayella, were social outcasts (for good reason). Mayella did not fit the Ewell mold, but the only recognition of her hard work ended up with a rape trial and the death of Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson, being a black man, lived a segregated life with strict rules about the interactions between black and white. He violated those rules by feeling sorry for a white woman. It cost him his life. Atticus himself was condemned by white society for representing a black man in court. His children were harassed because of it. Aunt Alexandra even gave "hell" to Scout because her manners and dress were not that of a lady. Yes, people give "hell" to other people. They just have to be the bigger person and not respond as Atticus showed the reader. This was the lesson he attempted to pass on to his children.
The previous post gave some good examples of the way many Maycomb citizens "gave hell" to others in To Kill a Mockingbird. Other examples include:
- Mr. Avery's blaming of Jem and Scout for the unseasonal snowfall that befell Maycomb.
- The children's Halloween prank on Misses Tutti and Frutti when their furniture was hidden in their own basement.
- Bob Ewell's stalking of Tom Robinson's widow following Tom's death.
- The white townspeople's belief that every unexplained act in Maycomb could be attributed to Negroes or Boo Radley.
- Cousin Francis' namecalling of Scout and his repeating of Alexandra's sentiment that Atticus was a "nigger-lover."
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