Homework Help

What quotes in To Kill A Mockingbird describe Mayella Ewell's personality and hardships...

user profile pic

taynicole22 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 18, 2011 at 4:11 AM via web

dislike 2 like

What quotes in To Kill A Mockingbird describe Mayella Ewell's personality and hardships she faces?

I need page numbers with the quotes and they can be spoken by anyone from the story. Thanks for the help. I am writing a paper comparing and contrasting Elie Wiesel in Night to Mayella Ewell in To Kill A Mockingbird.

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 18, 2011 at 4:57 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

In chapter 17, during Scout's narration to readers, she reveals an oddity about Mayella:

One corner of the yard, though, bewildered Maycomb. Against the fence, in a line, were six chipped-enamel slop jars holding brilliant red geraniums, cared for as tenderly as if they belonged to Miss Maudie Atkinson, had Miss Maudie deigned to permit a geranium on her premises. People said they were Mayella Ewell's.

This quote might fit nicely into your paper as around this quote Scout describes the Ewell family's home. It is filthy and dirty and gross. Any humane person would long to get out, or long to have pride in something, or long for cleanliness. These red geraniums demonstrate these longings in Mayella. She wanted to escape the filth that terrorized her life every day. This might be similar to Elie's circumstances because he too longed for freedom from the bondage of the camp, he might have illustrated it in a different way.

In chapter 18, Mayella's time on the stand reveals even more about her personality and hardships:

"What did your father see in the window, the crime of rape or the best defense to it? Why don't you tell the truth, child, didn't Bob Ewell beat you up?"

When Atticus turned away from Mayella he looked like his stomach hurt, but Mayella's face was a mixture of terror and fury.

Atticus was asking Mayella who really beat her. The "mixture of terror and fury" demonstrates that she was angry with Atticus for attacking and asking, but the terror shows that there may have been a more than likely chance that he was completely correct to make the assumption he did. It would be quite a hardship to endure defending a man who hurts you.

Moments later, Mayella reveals her strength even in the midst of weakness:

Suddenly Mayella became articulate. "I got somethin' to say," she said. Atticus raised his head. "Do you want to tell us what happened?"

But she did not hear the compassion in his invitation. "I got somethin' to say an' then I ain't gonna say no more. That nigger yonder took advantage of me an' if you fine fancy gentlemen don't wanta do nothin' about it then you're all yellow stinkin' cowards, stinkin' cowards, the lot of you. Your fancy airs don't come to nothin-your ma'amin' and Miss Mayellerin' don't come to nothin', Mr. Finch."

She yelled at the audience declaring how things are going to be (strength), but she can't see Atticus' manners for what they are worth. Therefore, she demonstrated her simple-minded inability to identify common courtesy. She used mean names to present herself as tough, but she came across as weak.


Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes