What is so important about Mr. Ewell’s testimony in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?Chapter 17 " To Kill a Mockingbird"

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mr. Ewell's testimony is significant because it suggests that he was his daughter's attacker and is lying about Tom Robinson's involvement in the crime. During Atticus's cross-examination, Mr. Ewell testifies that he agrees with Sheriff Tate's description of Mayella's injuries, which were predominantly to the right side of her face and around her neck. Atticus then has Bob Ewell write his signature on the back of an envelope, which proves that he is left-handed. This information is significant to the case because one would assume that a man leading predominately with his left hand would strike the right side of a person's face. Given the fact that Tom Robinson has a crippled left arm that cannot function, one could infer that Bob Ewell was his daughter's attacker. Later on, Atticus illustrates Bob Ewell's history of violent behavior and proves that he was motivated to harm his daughter for committing a social taboo by kissing Tom Robinson.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Earlier in his testimony, the sheriff said that Mayella Ewell was bruised on the right side of her face. This means that someone who was left handed probably hit her. During his testimony, Atticus has Mr. Ewell write on a piece of paper. He uses his left hand to hold the pencil. Atticus then has Tom stand up and show that his left hand is useless since he injured it when he was a boy. This makes Mr. Ewell a prime suspect in Mayella's beating.

scottycatman | Student

Oookay, that's not an answer.

The real reason it's so significant is because it's a real example of how racist we were, how unfairly they were treated, and their reputation in society. Tom Robinson had a perfect case going for him, but the jury decided to vote in favor of Ewell because of his race.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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