What topic does Atticus spend much of his time asking Mr. Tate about?

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In Chapter 17, Heck Tate takes the witness stand to testify in Tom Robinson's case. Atticus asks Heck Tate to describe what happened on the night of November 21st. Sheriff Tate says that he was fetched by Bob Ewell and when he arrived at the Ewell residence, he found Mayella lying on the floor with bruises and cuts covering her face. Atticus then spends a considerable amount of time questioning Sheriff Tate regarding the location of Mayella injuries. Atticus asks Heck Tate, which of Mayella's eyes was bruised. He responds by telling Atticus that her left eye was bruised. Atticus says, "Was it her left facing you or her left looking the same way you were?" (Lee 225) Heck said he was mistaken, and that her right eye was the one that was bruised. Tate goes on to admit that the majority of Mayella's injuries were on the right side of her face. Atticus continues to ask Tate the location of Mayella's injuries to reiterate the fact she was beaten on the right side of her face. This is significant because later on the trial, the jury witnesses that Bob Ewell is left-handed when Atticus makes him sign his name. Tom Robinson's left hand is crippled which suggests that he was not responsible for Mayella's injuries because he could not strike her with that hand. Mayella was more than likely beaten by a man who led predominately with his left hand. Atticus uses this evidence to suggest Bob Ewell was the person who assaulted his daughter, and not Tom Robinson.

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