To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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Discuss the treatment of outsiders in the court scene that features two different groups of outsiders on opposing sides of the case. How are Tom Robinson and the Ewells treated similarly or differently in To Kill a Mockingbird?

In To Kill a Mockingbird, both Mr. Gilmer and Atticus attempt to treat both Ewells with respect, despite their outsider status. However, while Atticus treats Tom Robinson with respect, Mr. Gilmer questions him disrespectfully on the stand. This causes Dill to cry. When Scout takes Dill outside, he says that Mr. Gilmer "called him [Robinson] ‘boy’ all the time an‘ sneered at him, an’ looked around at the jury every time he answered.”

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Both the Ewells are difficult to handle on the witness stand because they don't understand the norms of courtroom behavior. Mr. Ewell, for example, is rude to Mr. Gilmer saying, “That’s m’name, cap’n,” when asked if he is Mr. Robert Lee Ewell. Mr. Gilmer, therefore, is at first stern with Mr. Ewell, but then moves to "tones of good will" towards him. The courtroom explodes however, when Mr. Ewell says that Tom Robinson was "ruttin' on my Mayella."

Atticus asks Bob Ewell questions casually and "mildly." He does, however, trap him by getting him to sign his name, showing he was...

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