According to Atticus, what is the thing that Mayella has done wrong?  

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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sgcass | Student

According to Atticus, the only thing Mayella Ewell was guilty of was tempting a black man.  In society at that time, a white woman did not have sexual relations with a black crossed unwritten boundaries in society.  Mayella tried to seduce Tom Robinson that day her father saw her through the window, and it was her father who beat up her face.  Mayella accused Tom of rape to protect herself and to keep her actions a secret. 

mkcapen1 | Student

After the prosecutor is finished asking Mayella Ewell questions during Tom Robinson's trial, Atticus steps up to cross examine Ewella.  He begins by asking her about her education and friends.  She gives him answers that she is able to read and write as well as her father.

Atticus then begins to ask her about the Attack. Mayella tells him that Tom had choked her from behind.  He asked her if she had said that Tom had hit her in the face.  Mayella said that he had.  She is starting to tear up and states to Atticus that he did beat her in the face.

Atticus had Tom stand up and the jury and people see that Tom has a short left arm and a damaged hand.  His left arm is useless and hangs dead at his side.  He could not have grabbed her by the throat with both of his hands nor could he have hit her one the side she had stated.  Mayella begins to get more firm in her story ans she begins to feel backed into a corner.  Her story has changed since she first began stating what had happened.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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