According to Atticus in chapter 20, what is the thing that Mayella has done wrong in To Kill a Mockingbird?

According to Atticus in chapter 20 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Mayella broke a "rigid and time-honored code" of Maycomb's racist society by tempting a black man. The code Mayella broke was so severe that she would be ostracized from her community and considered unfit to live among her neighbors.

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In chapter 20, Atticus makes his closing remarks by proving Tom Robinson's innocence, providing insight into Mayella's motivation to fabricate her story, and encouraging the jury to conduct a fair assessment of the case. After briefly discussing the prosecution's lack of evidence and mentioning the conflicting testimonies of their witnesses, Atticus elaborates on Mayella Ewell's motivation to falsely accuse Tom Robinson of assaulting and raping her. Atticus begins by stating that he has nothing but pity for the state's chief witness but accuses her of putting Tom Robinson's life at stake in an effort to get rid of her own guilt.

Atticus goes on to state that Mayella's guilt was her primary motivation for falsely accusing Tom Robinson. Although Mayella did not commit a specific crime, she did break the "rigid and time-honored code of our society" of tempting a black man. In Maycomb's segregated, prejudiced society, it is considered taboo for a white woman to have relations with a black man....

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 797 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 6, 2020
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