What was Mayella's account of the incident with Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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    Mayella follows her father's lead when she accuses Tom Robinson of assault and rape in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. It was Bob Ewell who first reported the incident to Sheriff Heck Tate.

"Mr. Ewell came in, very excited he was, and said get out to his house quick, some nigger'd raped his girl."

Mayella told the court that Tom had taken advantage of her after she offered him a nickel to "bust up this chiffarobe."

"... an fore I knew it he was on me... He got me round the neck, cussin' me and sayin' dirt--I fought 'n' hollered, but he had me round the neck. He hit me agin and agin."

But this is Mayella's longest statement, and most of her other testimony comes in short answers to questions. Later, Atticus gets her confused.

"Do you remember him beating you about the face?"
    "No, I don't recollect if he hit me. I mean yes I do, he hit me."
    "Was your last sentence your answer?"
    "Huh? Yes, he hit--I just don't remember, I just don't remember... it happened so quick."

Mayella continues to contradict herself to most of Atticus's questions, and she finally appears tongue-tied, failing to answer a series of queries until Atticus suggests that it was her own father who beat her, rather than Tom. Then, she lashes out at the court, bursts into tears, and refuses to answer any more questions.

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