Whose testimony is most convincing in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird? 

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During the trial featured in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson presents the most convincing testimony by far.

One reason why Robinson's testimony is the most convincing is because the Ewells' testimony is full of holes. We can particularly see many holes in Mayella's testimony. One inconsistency concerns her statement that her father stood over her "hollerin' who done it, who done it?'" (Ch. 18). This contradicts her father's own testimony, who said he watched Robinson assault his daughter through the window. If Ewell had actually witnessed Robinson in the act of the offense, he wouldn't have had cause to ask his daughter who had abused her. The greatest hole in the Ewells' testimony stems from the fact that Mayella was bruised in her right eye by someone facing her. Even Sheriff Heck Tate testifies that her right eye was bruised, but only a left-handed man could have accomplished such an injury, whereas Tom Robinson is crippled in his left arm and hand. During Mayella's testimony, when Atticus asks her if she'd like to change her testimony to say Robinson hit her in her "left eye with his right fist," which would completely contradict prior testimonies, Mayella says the following ridiculous and illogical statement:

I ducked and it--it glanced, that's what it did. I ducked and it glanced off. (Ch. 18)

In contrast to the Ewells' testimonies, which are full of holes due to their lies, Robinson's testimony is very straightforward and even exposes Bob Ewell as having said to his daughter, "[Y]ou goddamn whore, I'll kill ya," which very vividly paints Ewell as the culprit who is guilty of abuse, not Robinson (Ch. 19).

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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