According to Tom's testimony, what happened on the day of the alleged crime in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom testified that Mayella called him in to help her, and then she tried to kiss him.

Tom says that he tipped his hat to Mayella as he passed by her place, and last spring she had asked him to bust up a chiffarobe for her.  She offered him a nickel, but he didn’t take it.  Yet Mayella called him in several times to bust up kindling for her or tote water.

Tom tells Atticus that he never went onto the Ewell property without an express invitation, and that there were usually children around watching him.  When he came on the day in question, the children were gone.  Mayella had saved money for a long time to get them treats so she could be alone with Tom.

Tom noticed it was quiet, and he asked Mayella what she needed.  She said she had a door off its hinges in the house about to fall off.  He went inside and the door was fine.  She asked Tom to get up on a chair and get a box from another chiffarobe, and when he did she grabbed him around the legs.

"She reached up an' kissed me 'side of th' face. She says she never kissed a grown man before an' she might as well kiss a nigger. … She says, 'Kiss me back, nigger.' (ch 19)

Tom tried to stop her, but still being polite.  After all, he was a married man.  Then her father saw them, and threatened Mayella.  Not Tom—Mayella.  Tom ran away.

Tom's description of the incident is a lot more believable than Mayella and Bob Ewell’s version.  From what Tom testified, it is clear that Mayella planned to get time alone with him to kiss him, and that her father blamed her for the incident.  She clearly accused Tom to save face, since it was her father who beat her.


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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