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Atticus, in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, raises three important points during his examination of Heck Tate.
The first point which Atticus brings up during Heck Tate's testimony is the fact that no doctor was called to examine Mayella after the supposed rape and assault. Atticus wants to make such a point out of this that he asks Tate three times.
Judge Taylor broke in. “He’s answered the question three times, Atticus. He didn’t call a doctor.”
The second point which Atticus makes is Tate's uncertainty about which of Mayella's eyes was beginning to blacken. At first, Tate states that it was her left. After questioning Tate further, Atticus gets Tate to state that it was Mayella's right eye.
Mr. Tate said, “Oh yes, that’d make it her right. It was her right eye, Mr. Finch. I remember now, she was bunged up on that side of her face…”
The third, and final, point which Atticus brings up during Tate's testimony is, again, regarding more of Mayella's injuries. Atticus asks Tate about the bruising on Mayella's neck. Tate states that Mayella had bruising all the way around her neck.
“All around her throat? At the back of her neck?”
“I’d say they were all around, Mr. Finch.”
“Yes sir, she had a small throat, anybody could’a reached around it with—”
Atticus, with his questioning of Tate, is setting up for later testimony which will negate Tate's testimony about the cause of Mayella's injuries.
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