To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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

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Chapter 20 of To Kill a Mockingbird is where Atticus gives his closing arguments in the rape case against Tom Robinson. Since there is no clear evidence to prove that Tom Robinson raped Mayella Ewell, Atticus does his best to discredit his white accusers. The whole case is ironic because the true victim is on trial for a crime he didn't commit; so, Atticus sheds light on the person who is the true offender in the case--Mayella Ewell. Atticus specifically says that Mayella didn't do anything illegal, per se; but she did do something socially wrong according to the current mindframe of the South in 1935. Atticus explains as follows:

"What was the evidence of her offense? Tom Robinson, a human being. She must put Tom Robinson away from her. Tom Robinson was her daily reminder of what she did. What did she do? She tempted a Negro" (203).

No socially respectable white woman of the time period...

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maggieslywn | Student

atticus does not believe that is what she did wrong, its that she put her reputation over her friend.

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