What is the purpose of having the Ewell family accuse Tom Robinson of rape in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In my opinion, the Ewell family helps demonstrate the need for equality. It demonstrates that no matter what the color of a person, there is the chance for evil to come from anyone.

The Ewell also helps the reader feel sympathy for Tom Robinson. When we know for sure that Mayella Ewell has so many reasons for accusing Tom, (none of which have to do with the truth) and when we see that Bob has every reason to present good reason for Mayella's injuries that someone must have seen, we empathize with Tom Robinson. The sense of injustice makes certain that readers will side with Tom. Thus, when we learn of the verdict, it makes white readers mad at a white family. This is good to help drive home the point that criminal activity, lies, and injustice are colorblind. Therefore we must seek equality for all.

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