In To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Mayella state "don't know- long time" when asked how long her mother's been dead?
It seems strange that she would forget how long her own mother's been dead and she has 7 younger brothers and sisters. Please help Thanks!
In my opinion, we have to use the facts to infer why Mayella says this. First, we know that Mayella is uncomfortable with Atticus and this shows that she doesn't want to answer his questions. Her ambiguous and vague answer shows disrespect to Atticus.
However, it also demonstrates that Mayella has little value of her family and circumstances. She may have longings outside of her home if she is going to show such apathy and almost resentment towards her mother's death.
Perhaps, it is just to painful to revisit.
Whichever of the three circumstances mentioned above may be true, Mayella does not want to talk about it. She does not want to trust Atticus or get comfortable with him because then her guard will drop.