In "To Kill a Mockingbird" how did Tom's testimony about the evening of November 21 differ from Mayella's?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mayella indicated that she asked Tom to help her break apart a piece of furniture that was outside. She went inside to get him a nickel, and he snuck up behind her, grabbed her around the neck, hit her repeatedly, and then raped her.  She kicked and screamed and then her dad was there yelling at her and she fainted.

Tom's testimony is a bit different.  He said that he had broken up the piece of furniture over a year ago, and she had offered to pay him a nickel, but he had refused and gone home.  On the actual night in question, Tom said that she asked him inside the house, and told him that there was a door he needed to fix.  So he went in and tried the door, which didn't need any fixing, and Mayella shut the door.  He asked her where everyone else was, and she said the kids went in town for ice-cream.  Then she asked him to get something that was on top of the chiffarobe, so he got on the chair to reach it, and she grabbed him around the legs, knocking the chair over.  Then she jumped on him, hugging him, kissed him, told him that she never kissed a grown man before and that "what her papa do to her down't count."  He shoved her away, and that is when Bob Ewell came on the scene.

Mayella's testimony puts her as being attacked and raped by Tom, and Tom's testimony puts her as scheming to get them alone together, and trying to seduce him.  The differences are stark, and highly significant.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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