To what extent was Mayella free to speak the truth during the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird? Question for a Socratic seminar on TKAM, and I just can't understand this.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What the previous post failed to point out was that Mayella was not free to speak the exact truth since her father was present in the courtroom. Mayella knew that if she answered Atticus's questions honestly, then she would have to face the wrath of Bob Ewell once she got home. There is little doubt that Bob had beaten his daughter before, and he may have even taken sexual liberties with her as well. But she knew that she could not tell the court that her father had beaten her or that she had kissed Tom for fear of the certain reprisal she would encounter from her father after the trial.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial