In To Kill a Mockingbird, what more do we learn about the Ewell family from Atticus' cross examination?  

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout tells us that

 "Atticus was quietly building up before the jury a picture of the Ewells' home life. The jury learned the following things: their relief check was far from enough to feed the family, and there was strong suspicion tht Papa drank it up anyway-he sometimes went off in the swamp for days and came home sick; the weather was seldom cold enought to requre shoes, but when it was, you could make dandy ones from strips of old tires; the family hauled its water in buckets from a spring that ran out at one end of the dump-they kept the surrounding area clear of trash -and it was everybody for himself as far as keeping clean went: if you wanted to was you hauled your own water; the younger children and perpetual colds and suffered from chronic younger children had perpetual colds and suffered from chronic gournd-itch; there was a lady woho came around sometimes and asked Maella why she didn't stay in school- she wrote down the answer- that two people who could read and write in the family there wasn't any need for the others to go."

The reader also learns that Mayella is lying because she tells us that Tom Robinson strangled her with an arm he couldn't even use.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Atticus cross examines Bob Ewell, the reader learns that Mr. Ewell has never called a doctor in his life and would not be able to, as it would have cost $5. We also learn that Bob Ewell is left handed. When cross examined, Mayella Ewell reveals that no one has ever referred to her as "Miss Mayella" or "ma'am" before and that she is the oldest of seven siblings. Her mother died a long time before, and Mayella attended school for only two or three years. The family's relief check is seldom enough to feed everyone, and Mr. Ewell often spends all the incoming money on drink or disappears for days at a time. The kids are often sick, and they do not have shoes but construct footwear from tires if needed. The children also do not go to school and have a hard time staying clean. Mayella has no friends and leads a lonely and deprived existence.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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