What are similarities and differences between the testimonies of Mrs. Price and Mayella Ewell in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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While a Mrs. Price cannot be found in the character list of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird ("List of To Kill a Mockingbird Characters"), there certainly are some similarities in the testimonies given at the trial. However, there are far more contradictions than similarities in the testimonies given by the four witnesses at the trial--Heck Tate, Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell, and Tom Robinson. The most contradictory evidence is given by Bob and his daughter Mayella.

One major contradiction is Mr. Ewell says that as soon as he heard Mayella screaming, he "run up to th' window" and saw "that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella," which he indicates by pointing in the courtroom to be Tom Robinson (Ch. 17). Atticus makes a large point of finding out exactly how tall the window is to see if would be possible to see someone on the floor from the window.

But most importantly, when Mayella testifies, she says her father rushed into the room and was "standing over [her] hollerin' who done it, who done it?" (Ch. 18). But if Mr. Ewell had actually seen Tom Robinson commit the crime, as he said he did, then Mr. Ewell would have no logical reason for asking Mayella who did the crime. According to Mayella's testimony, Tom Robinson had already left the scene of the crime by the time Mr. Ewell entered the room. But according to Mr. Ewell's testimony, Tom Robinson had not yet left the scene of the crime and was caught in action.

Similarities include the fact that both father and daughter testify to her having been strangled and hit on the right side of the face.

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