Before the alleged rape, there was little to no relationship between these two families. They were not in the same social class and did not mingle except in school. Scout, at the ripe old age of six, knows that the Ewells attend the first day of school and then drop out for the year. That way, they get their names registered as students at the school. Unless Atticus were to defend a Ewell for some crime, they would not associate with each other. The Ewells lived next to the dump and scavenged what they could to live. Everyone in town knows of the Ewells, but none associate with them with the exception of Tom Robinson, who felt sorry for Mayella. She was the only one who took care of anything, and she seemed to have no help. Tom's compassion got him killed. A black man could never feel sorry for a white woman in those days.