Scout is already familiar with the Ewell family, but after Atticus questions him, Scout determines that Bob may have beaten Mayella himself. First, she believes that Bob fails to understand Judge Taylor's instructions when he warns Bob about "obscene speculations." But Scout discovers Bob's "evil intent" when he claims to have seen Tom "ruttin on my Mayella."
Mr. Ewell reminded me of a deaf-mute. I was sure he had never heard the words Judge Taylor directed at him--
After Ewell spoke disrespectfully to Atticus, the defense attorney slowly made his case. According to Scout, Atticus reduced "the little man" back into being "a red little rooster." When Atticus determined that Ewell could write, and with his left hand, Scout understood that her father's line of questioning was meant to show that Bob could have hit Mayella with his left hand, while Tom could not.
Like Mr. Heck Tate, I imagined a person facing me, went through a swift mental pantominme, and concluded that he might have held her with his right hand and pounded her with his left. I looked at him. His back was to us, but I could see his broad shoulders and bull-thick neck. He could easily have done it. I thought Jem was counting his chickens.
In Chapter 18, Judge Taylor responds to Mayella's accusation that Atticus was "mockin' me." He explained that Atticus "is always courteous to everybody," and understood that if anybody was "browbeating," it was the angry Mayella.
In Chapter 17 Robert Ewell is brought to the witness stand. Mr. Ewell is identified as being rude to the prosecutor even though he is a witness for the prosecution. His rudeness in his answers even makes the Judge stir. Mr. Ewell calls Tom a nigger when he points him out as the man he saw in the room with his daughter. Scout is aware of his behavior. She also recognizes that Mr. Ewell has no respect for the things that the judge says to him. He is a crude man and he describes the scene as:
-“I seen that black nigger younder ruttin’ on my Mayella.”
Atticus questions Mr. Ewell about him not taking his child for medical help. He interrogates the man until the evidence demonstrates to the children that he is the one who hurt his daughter and Tom is innocent.
In Chapter 18 Mayella Ewell is called to the stand. She indicates that she does not like Atticus making fun of her. Mayella starts crying as Atticus continues to probe her with questions. Mr. Gilmer, the prosecutor, stands up at one point during the interrogation and states that Atticus is brow beating the witness. Judge Taylor laughs and tells Mr. Gilmer to sit down.