In The Book To Kill A Mockingbird, what are the importances of...What is the importance of what Mayella Ewell and Dolphus Raymond say and do? Also another part is, how does Harper Lee use them to...

In The Book To Kill A Mockingbird, what are the importances of...

What is the importance of what Mayella Ewell and Dolphus Raymond say and do? Also another part is, how does Harper Lee use them to explore her main concerns?

2 Answers | Add Yours

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

MAYELLA EWELL.  A fairly complex character, Mayella is a poor, simple, presumably illiterate young woman with no friends who is forced to serve as surrogate mother to her younger siblings. Although she probably shares her father's racist views of African-Americans, she nevertheless chooses Tom Robinson to seduce--primarily because he is the most convenient male adult to pass her way. When her father catches her with Tom, he beats her and then concocts a story of rape and battery. Mayella goes along with it because of her fear of her father. Despite her status in the community as a lowly Ewell, she nevertheless is portrayed to the jury as a person to be pitied; she is also a white girl supposedly wronged by a black man. Her half-truths and unvarifiable stories are believed because she is white.

DOLPHUS RAYMOND.  Mr. Raymond serves as an antithesis to Bob Ewell. A white man, Raymond chooses to live with Maycomb's African-American population. He finds them more honest and less hateful than Maycomb's white populace and feels sympathy for their plight as second-class citizens.

HARPER LEE'S PURPOSE.  Raymond speaks from the heart as a white man who loves his fellow black man. Lee uses him as an example of Alabama's small minority of white men not ridden with racist bigotry or hatred. Lee uses Mayella to show the reader that even the lowliest white woman maintains a higher class status than any African-American in 1930s Alabama.

missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Both of these characters prove that perception is not reality.

Take a look at Dolphus Raymond. He doesn't drink alcohol, he prefers Coke. But he lets everyone believe he is a drunk because it helps them create excuse in their minds about the idea that he prefers a black woman to a white woman. He knows that this is a problem with society and says so to Dill and Scout in chapter 20.

If you look at Mayella and just her appearance, you might believe she doesn't care herself or relationships. But if you listen to the description of her red geraniums and her testimony with Atticus, you find that he pulls out information that maybe she would like to have friends and nice things. Living off the state is not necessarily her goal.

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question