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Explain Mayella's relationship with her father in Chapter 19 of "To Kill a...

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vico | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 28, 2008 at 4:17 AM via web

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Explain Mayella's relationship with her father in Chapter 19 of "To Kill a Mockingbird".

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted December 28, 2008 at 7:57 AM (Answer #1)

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Mayella's relationship with her father is perverted and it is not a healthy relationship.  Mayella is beaten, and probably sexually abused.  He hits her and he uses her on a whim. She has been held down so long that she believes this is a normal relationship.  Mayella is defensive and defends her father.  She is the "adult" of the family in the sense that she makes sure the little children are fed.  She takes care of them in the little manner that they are taken care of.  Her father is a drunk, hateful and angry man.  He takes all of this anger out on his family first and then to everyone else around them.  When the trial takes place, Mayella does the only thing she knows to do, she does what her father tells her to do.

"Bob Ewell is despised by Maycomb society as a shiftless drunkard. He is unable to keep a job, spends all his relief money on alcohol, and traps animals outside of hunting season. He provides little support to his large, motherless family, and is reputed to beat his children (and perhaps sexually abuse them too, as Mayella's testimony hints)."

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ashleyloraine | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted December 28, 2008 at 4:54 AM (Answer #2)

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the relationship between mayella and her father is an abusive one. He beats her and makes her do all the work around the house, like a slave. She is scared of him, and she knows that if she doesnt do what he wants, he will beat her more.

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