Where does Tom Robinson live in To Kill a Mockingbird? 

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom Robinson lives near the town dump, by Bob Ewell.

Tom Robinson is Atticus’s client.  He is a black man accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell.  However, Tom is actually an upstanding citizen.  He has a family of his own.  Robinson has a wife and children.

He lives in that little settlement beyond the town dump. He’s a member of Calpurnia’s church, and Cal knows his family well. She says they’re clean-living folks. (Ch. 9)  

Tom Robinson has to live over by the town dump, because that’s where the black population lives.  He has the unfortunate luck of living next to Bob Ewell, an unsavory white man who is on the lowest rung of Maycomb’s society.  Ewell complains during the trial about having to live near the Robinsons. 

I knowed who it was, all right, lived down yonder in that nigger-nest, passed the house every day. Jedge, I’ve asked this county for fifteen years to clean out that nest down yonder, they’re dangerous to live around ‘sides devaluin’ my property—" (Ch. 17) 

This is ironic because Ewell has no property value to begin with.  For generations the Ewells have lived off government assistance and hunted for their food.  Ewell lives by the town dump because he is a social outcast.  His children do not even go to school.  He is an illiterate, antisocial, racist alcoholic.  

Tom Robinson was trying to be nice to Mayella Ewell.  He felt sorry for her, being stuck there taking care of all of her brothers and sisters.  He was aware of how isolated she was, and tried to make her life a little better in what small ways he could.  That was what caused the trouble.  Mayella tried to kiss him, her father found out, and he accused Robinson of raping his daughter even though nothing like that ever even happened.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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