To Kill a Mockingbird – Chapter 18

Mayella confirms most of what her father had said and adds that she invited Robinson in to break up a piece of furniture. However, she says that after the rape, her father asked her who had done it: “…next thing I knew Papa was in the room a’standing over me hollerin’ who done it, who done it?” This contradicts Mr. Ewell’s testimony, as he claimed to have actually seen Tom Robinson raping Mayella. If this were true, there would be no reason for him to ask her who had done it. Because their stories are inconsistent, it is highly likely that one or both of the Ewells is lying. What is Mayella’s version of what happened? Which part of her testimony contradictsthat of her father’s?
She is not used to people calling her “Miss” or “Ma’am.” Since she does not understand that Atticus is merely being polite, she assumes that he is using the courteous words sarcastically. Why does Mayella think that Atticus is mocking her?
He wants to paint a picture for the jury of Mayella’s pathetic, lonely home life. Why does Atticus begin by asking Mayella a lot of questions about herself and her family?
When Tom stands up, it is clear that one of his arms is much shorter than the other: “His left arm was fully twelve inches shorter than his right, and hung dead at his side. It ended in a small shriveled hand, and from as far away as the balcony I could see that it was no use to him.” According to Reverend Sykes, Tom had gotten his left arm caught in a cotton gin when he was a boy. The fact that Tom Robinson’s left hand is totally useless makes it extremely doubtful thathe could have beaten and choked Mayella. As Atticus previously established, the bruises on her face suggest a left-handed assailant. Additionally, the bruises on her neck suggest that someone choked her with both hands. Tom is apparently unable to use his left hand at all. Describe the way Tom Robinson looks as he stands up. What is unusual about his arms?How is this information relevant to the beating and choking of Mayella?
Atticus asks Mayella, “Who beat you up? Tom Robinson or your father?”She does notanswer him, and her face was “a mixture of terror and fury.” After a few moments, sheangrily explodes, reiterating her charge against Tom Robinson. She then begins to cry. On what dramatic note does Atticus end his questioning of Mayella? What is her response?
Answers will vary. Considering the evidence and testimony up to this point, do you think Tom Robinson is guilty? give reasons for your opinion.

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