Mayella Ewell is Bob Ewell's oldest daughter and one of the antagonists of the story. Mayella is portrayed as a lonely, ignorant teenager who is in desperate need of affection and fears her unscrupulous, alcoholic father. Mayella's primary role in the story is falsely accusing Tom Robinson of assaulting and raping her on the evening of November 21st. During the Tom Robinson trial, Atticus exposes Mayella as a liar during his cross-examination. Mayella continually contradicts her testimony and eventually becomes so upset and overwhelmed that she refuses to answer any more of Atticus's questions. In Atticus's closing arguments, he comments on Mayella's motivation to falsely accuse Tom Robinson of a heinous crime: Mayella knew that she had broken an unwritten social code by tempting a black man and wanted to preserve her reputation. After Bob mercilessly beat her, Mayella feared the consequences of not corroborating his story. While the audience can sympathize with Mayella, they cannot overlook her malicious, selfish decision to falsely accuse Tom Robinson of a crime he did not commit.
Scout Finch is the protagonist and narrator, who tells the complicated story, in retrospect, of how Jem came to break his arm. Throughout the story, Scout is depicted as a naive, curious tomboy growing up in the prejudiced community of Maycomb, Alabama. Initially, Scout fears her reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley, and struggles to control her temper. As the story progresses, Scout learns numerous life lessons from her father and neighbors and gradually matures. Scout experiences conflict when she is forced to defend her father against her racist family members and neighbors. Scout also loses her childhood innocence after witnessing Tom Robinson become a victim of racist injustice.
Following the trial, Scout morally develops into a compassionate, sympathetic individual, enhances her perspective on Maycomb's community, and begins to recognize hypocrisy. Toward the end of the story, Scout and Jem are viciously attacked by Bob Ewell. Fortunately, Boo Radley intervenes and saves their lives. Following the attack, Scout meets Boo for the first time and walks him home. As she stands on Boo's porch, Scout finally views the neighborhood from his perspective, which emphasizes her maturation and moral development.