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In "To Kill a Mockingbird", when Atticus questions the four witnesses during...

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mel135 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 1, 2008 at 4:58 AM via web

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In "To Kill a Mockingbird", when Atticus questions the four witnesses during the trial, how does each witness behave on the stand?

When Atticus questions Heck Tate, Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson on the witness stand, how does each behave?

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troutmiller | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted December 1, 2008 at 7:41 AM (Answer #1)

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Heck Tate tells all that he knows on the stand and even has to correct himself with the specifics on which hand the attacker lead with in Mayella's beating.  He is honest and straight forward in his answers.

Bob Ewell is compared metaphorically to a rooster with his reddened neck, his "crowing" answers and how he struts up to the stand.  He is up there to show off his "knowledge" which turns out to be all lies anyway.  This is his only shot at being admired by others.

Mayella is considered pathetic.  She is rude to Atticus because he uses his manners with her, and yet she thinks he's "mocking her."  She also doesn't even know what "friends" are when he asks her who her friends are.  She snaps back at Atticus with contempt and disrespect.  She then screams at him and the court and calls them "Yellow stinkin cowards" as she runs off the stand.

Tom is honest and respectful.  He tells his story with as much respect as he can.  He won't even call Mayella a liar, he just says she was "mistaken in her mind."  His only downfall is when he says he "felt sorry for her."  That was the nail in his coffin.

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