How does Tom Robinson show compassion and empathy towards others in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

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When Tom Robinson testifies in chapter 19 of To Kill a Mockingbird, we learn his account of his relationship with the Ewells. Of course, it is Mayella Ewell whom Tom is accused of raping, the crime for which he is on trial. We learn through Atticus Finch's questions and Tom's responses that he was quite empathetic and generous toward the Ewells, which makes their accusations toward him even more vicious.

Tom has to go by the Ewell home to get to work, so he would often help Mayella with work around the house. Tom testifies that she asked him for help on many occasions: "she asked me to come inside the fence and bust up a chiffarobe for her" (191); "Seemed like everytime I passed by yonder she'd have some little somethin' for me to do—choppin' kindlin', totin' water for her" (191). Tom is happy to help and is generous with his time.

Mayella assumes she will have to pay him a nickel after the first task, but he tells her there is no charge. Tom further testifies that he never charges the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 667 words.)

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