The pitiful Mayella Ewell is certainly one of the most sympathetic characters in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Mayella was the oldest of Bob Ewell's children, and following the departure of her mother, Mayella was left to serve as the family's surrogate mother. She had no friends or money and no social life. She was so desperate for human interaction that she invited Tom Robinson--a married African-American man--into her home under the pretense of helping her with moving a chiffarobe (chest of drawers). Her true intention was to somehow gain his affections, but when she threw her arms around him and kissed him, Tom bolted from the house. This was the "code of society" that she violated: Whites and blacks rarely mixed socially in Depression era Alabama, and any kind of physical or sexual contact between different races was taboo. So, instead of admitting the truth, she decided to claim (no doubt prompted by her guilty and ashamed father) that Tom attacked her.