In To Kill a Mockingbird, what information comes out in each of the cross-examinations of Heck Tate, Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson?

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SHERIFF HECK TATE.  Sheriff Tate truthfully testifies that he had been contacted by Bob concerning an attack on Mayella. He reveals that Mayella has been beaten on the right side of his face (undoubtedly by a left-handed man) and choked around her neck and that no doctor had been called to examine her. 

BOB EWELL.  Bob claims that when he came home, he looked in his window and saw "--that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella!" Although Bob is never very specific, he claims that Tom raped and beat his daughter. Atticus has Bob write his name and he does so-- with his left hand.

MAYELLA EWELL.  Mayella begins crying the minute she sees Atticus, and she remains distraught during much of her testimony. She contradicts herself several times, first saying she didn't "recollect" Tom hitting her, then saying he did, then claiming that

"Yes, he hit--I just don't remember... it all happened so quick."

She never describes the rape, only that Tom "done what he was after." She also nods when Atticus suggests that her father is not so "tollable... when he's drinking."

TOM ROBINSON.  Tom, who has a crippled left arm, denies ever touching Mayella. He claims that she invited him inside the Ewell house to fix a door and get a box off the top of the chiffarobe. While he was on top of the chair, Mayella hugged and kissed him. When Tom tried to run, she blocked his path, and when Bob suddenly appeared at the window, Tom said that Mayella's father yelled,

"... you goddam whore, I'll kill ya."

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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