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to kill a mockingbird notes

To Kill A Mockingbird – Chapters 18-19
Mayella testifies next, a reasonably clean nineteen-year- old girl who is obviously terrified. She says that she called Tom Robinson inside the fence that evening and offered him a nickel to break up a dresser for her, and that once he got inside the house he grabbed her and took advantage of her. In Atticus’ cross-examination, Mayella reveals that she has seven siblings to care for, a drunken father, and no friends.
Then Atticus examines her testimony and asks why she didn’t put up a better fight, why her screams didn’t bring the other children running, and–most importantly–how Tom Robinson managed the crime with a useless left hand, torn apart by a cotton gin when he was a boy. Atticus begs her to admit that there was no rape, that her father beat her. She shouts at him and calls the courtroom cowards if they don’t convict Tom Robinson, and then bursts into tears refusing to answer any more questions. In the recess that follows, Mr. Underwood notices the children up in the balcony, but Jem tells Scout that the newspaper editor won’t tell Atticus– although he might include it in the social section of the newspaper.
The prosecution rests, and Atticus calls only one witness–Tom Robinson. Tom testifies that he always passed the Ewell house on the way to work, and that Mayella often asked him to do chores for her. On the evening in question, she asked him to come inside the house and fix a door. When he got inside, however, there was nothing wrong with the door, and he noticed that the other children were gone. Mayella told him that she had saved her money and sent them all to buy ice cream, and then she asked him to lift a box down from a dresser. When he climbed up on a chair, she grabbed his legs, scaring him so much that he jumped down. Then she hugged him around the waist, and asked him to kiss her. As she struggled, her father appeared at the window, calling Mayella a whore and thr…


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