March 7 2017

Witnesses for the Prosecution

Tonight, please read chapters 17 and 18 of To Kill a Mockingbird.  In these chapters you will revisit Mr. Gilmer’s three witnesses for the prosecution:  Heck Tate, Bob Ewell, and Mayella Ewell.   Each of these witnesses have distinct personalities.  Please explain how Harper Lee conveys these personalities through her characterizations of them.  You may consider each character’s appearance, behavior, and speech in your response.

As always, please be sure to check your writing for spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

Mockingbird blog #7

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Posted March 7, 2017 by equinson in category To Kill a Mockingbird

34 thoughts on “Witnesses for the Prosecution

  1. ilyssal

    Concluding my reading and analysis of tonight’s chapters in “To Kill a Mockingbird”, it is clear that the characters of Heck Tate, Bob Ewell and Mayella Ewell are each developed in distinct ways. Bob Ewell is another ordinary, racist, white southern man. He has everything against all African-American people. The entire county of Maycomb views him as trash and a disgrace. Mayella is the one beautiful part of the Ewell family. She keeps a flower garden outside of her home, which very well may be the only lovely thing about the house they reside in. The Ewell family is very Southern-Traditional. Heck Tate is not very bright, though, he still is the sheriff of Maycomb County. The laws were not as important to him as they should be, but he is willing to bend some rules to defend some people.

  2. arihantp1

    Harper Lee reveals the personality of Heck Tate, Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell through their testimony during the prosecution. Heck Tate went first and rambles through the answers to Atticus’s questions. He also doesn’t recognize right from left which shows how he may not be the brightest. Bob Ewell was called next. He is a stereotypical white southerner of the time, who is very rash, and quick to respond. He gets very defensive when Atticus challenged his literacy and is not respected in Maycomb. Finally, Mayella Ewell is called to testify. Mayella sniffles and sobs through much of the trial, and contradicts herself multiple times. She stops midway through many of her sentences and stares at her father, as if she does not want to anger him. Mayella Ewell is probably being told what to do and say, showing that she is scared of her father.

  3. tarika1

    The three different people that testified all showed different parts of their personalities. Heck Tate was kind of consistent in his except for two parts of it. He did not call a doctor and that he talked suspiciously about the injuries. Robert Ewell had a questionable testimony. He used lots of profanity and had bias towards the black community. Mayella’s testimony was where we got to see Attitcus’ talent. He broke her down by asking easy questions about her life and other things. Then he went to the trial. He questioned her trustworthiness and how her relationships were to her family and friends. This trial allowed us to delve deeper into the personalities of these characters and how they act.

    1. christophert3

      I completely agree, Atticus did do that, and very well for that matter. I also agree that after reading the chapters, you can see that the characters each showed some of their personalities during the trial.

  4. Tyler Newby

    During tonight’s reading, I noticed a few things. First of all, I found it very strange that the court favored the Ewells over Tom Robinson, even though the Ewells are not very credible. They live behind a garbage dump, in a small shed with a yard covered in trash. Robert Ewell also had a history of being a drunkard and abusive. I also found it to be a little questionable that Mayella would pay Tom to do her chores. It seems like she’s almost setting him up to get into trouble. Harper Lee described the Ewells as basically filthy people. She said they were dirty and ill-mannered. Like Atticus said at an earlier time, Tom was doomed. He had no chance of winning the trial. Even Dill broke into tears witnessing the biased trial.

  5. caias1

    In tonight’s chapters, we were re-introduced to Heck Tate, Bob, and Mayella Ewell. Each character has very different personalities. Heck Tate holds the law very close, and only tries to follow it. Bob and his family are viewed as the trash of a town. They live in a dump, with only a small garden of geranium, rumored to be Mayella’s. Bob Ewell is a rude, biased, clearly lying man. He has nothing good to say about the African American community. He is a very stereotypical white southern man, despite the fact that he and his family are barely above the black community in social status. Scout herself says, “All the little man on the witness stand had that made him any better than his nearest neighbors was, that if scrubbed with lye soap in very hot water, his skin was white.” (pg 229) Mayella Ewell clearly shows fear towards her father, since she glances at him for approval at almost every question. It makes her testimony seem even more fake, especially when she has to admit that her father often gets drunk and takes it out on her. If the defendant were not African American, he might have had a chance at receiving the verdict not guilty.

  6. briannag3

    Heck Tate was called up first to the stand. He gives short and quick answers to all of Aticus’ questions. He reveals that he doesn’t know the difference between right and left which points to him not being well educated. The next person called to testify was Bob Ewell. Robert’s testimony is very bias because of his strong disliking for the black community in Maycomb. When Mayella is called she is a wreck. She cries through most of it and seems as if she’s saying what her father wants her to say, not what really happened.

  7. christophert3

    After reading chapters 17 and 18, it is easy for one to realize Atticus’ genius at being a lawyer. There are multiple different witnesses for the Ewell’s side, including the sheriff, Heck Tate, Bob Ewell, and Mayella Ewell. But Atticus, being a great lawyer, and detective, takes in the key and suspicious information and immediately has a theory. He looks at specific things in stories and questions them multiple times just to make sure each person’s statements are clear and intentional. He also was very smart and displayed his prowess through his understanding that though he may know some things and come to a conclusion, the ones that were supposed to know everything would be the jury. So he deliberately made Mayella Ewell answer questions about every day life so the jury could get an idea about the lives of the Ewells and asked questions that supported the same idea over and over so many times, it would be impossible for one to not catch the idea. One, for example, was the whole “which side were her injuries on”. After he makes Mr. Tate repeat a few times that it was on her right side, he shows how Mr. Robinson’s crippled on that side so it would be hard for him to beat her there while she’s facing him. He had also shown that Mr. Bob Ewell was a lefty, which would be a good reason for most of the injuries to be on the right side, had he been the one beating her. He would often ask questions that, knowing they would not be answered, simply stated an idea he had. For instance, when he’s finishing asking questions, he finishes up by asking her whether or not her dad had been the one who abused her and asks whether he had seen her assaulted or seen an opportunity at that window. These questions completely go against what the Ewells are arguing for and so, one can just assume that they won’t admit. Thus, we can infer that he asked these questions to voice to the jury what he was getting at through all of his questions. Through all of these clues that Atticus hints multiple times at, one can easily believe and see that it was obviously not a sexual assault by Tom Robinson, but a beating by Mr. Bob Ewell and I would like to say one last time, Atticus, and through him Harper Lee, really crafted this case well.

  8. faithw

    While reading chapters 17 and 18 of To Kill a Mockingbird, I was fascinated by the Mayella Ewell’s character. Mayella was abused by her father, Bob Ewell, and became petrified of him. She was so afraid of him that she lied in court in order to protect herself. In fact, when Atticus asks her whether Bob has ever beaten her, she replied “My paw’s never touched a hair o’my head in my life. He never touched me” (p.246). Although it is unquestionable that Mayella is frightened by her dad, I also believe that her untruthfulness was an act of love and loyalty. Mayella cherished Bob and wanted to save him from the harsh consequences he would be forced to face if she was honest. The Ewell family is already in the lowest class of white society and she does not want her father’s reputation worsened.

    1. Esha Pandya

      I agree, I also thought that Mayella’s lie was harder to catch, especially after Bob Ewell claimed he hadn’t hurt Mayella.

  9. charlottes

    In chapters 17-18 of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” we see three witnesses: Heck Tate, Bob Ewell and Mayella Ewell. Heck Tate is the first one to the stand. He explains what he did and what he heard and describes Mayella’s injuries. When he talks about her black eye, it is revealed that he can’t tell right from left. This tells us that he might not be such a good witness because is is probably not well educated. Even though he is the sheriff of Maycomb, he is not very intelligent. The next one to the stand is Bob Ewell. Bob Ewell is the father of Mayella. There has been a history of him being drunk and beating Mayella, but he doesn’t tell the jury that. He is against the black community and makes Tom Robinson seem like some monster with no respect. It is also clear that bob is not well educated because when Atticus asks him about what Heck Tate says, he gets confused. The last person to the stand is Mayella Ewell. Mayella instantly breaks into tears and says she is frightened of Atticus. When this happens, it is obvious that she is not telling the full truth because she hasn’t said a word and she is already breaking down. I think she is scared if she doesn’t say what her father wants her to say, he will beat her. She has gone through a lot of pain and doesn’t want any more. She says almost the exact thing as her father. We are still not sure whether any of these three are good witnesses or are lying to get their way.

  10. avae1

    In chapters 17 and 18, we meet the witnesses at the stand, Mr.Heck Tate, Bob Ewell and Mayella Ewell. Each has their own distinct personality and it is definitely made clear on the stand. The mayor of Maycomb County, Heck Tate was called up and answered questions without a fight. He seemed to be very compliant and gave quick answers that provided a basis for the night of November twenty-first. He did have a mix up between his left and right, but otherwise Atticus had a generally easy time with him. Bob Ewell however, was quite different. Harper Lee does a very wise thing and gives the reader some prior knowledge on the Ewells by describing their living situation. Before Mr.Ewell is questioned, Scout states, “Maycomb’s Ewells lived behind the town garbage dump in what was once a Negro cabin.”(p.227) Bob Ewell used profanity and various offensive terms regarding African American people. Judge Taylor had to ask him to refrain from speaking this way as much as he could. Bob Ewell was clearly biased and his claims are questionable. Lastly, Mayella Ewell was a witness and I found the way she was portrayed to be most interesting. Her personality could be described by her actions. Although she was nineteen years old, she didn’t display much maturity. She was very emotional and cried multiple times throughout the trial. Mayella accused Atticus of mocking her, and appeared to be very sensitive to every question asked. Her answers were not constant, and therefore cannot be trusted as what actually occured.

  11. francescaa

    In chapters 17-18 of To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee used the Prosecution to characterize Heck Tate, Bob Ewell and Mayella Ewell. The first witness was Mr. Heck Tate, Maycomb’s county sheriff. As he recalled what happened the night of November 21, Atticus proceeded to ask him some questions. He answered each one without taking too long, but there was one particular question that really hung him up. Atticus asked Mr. Tate one which side Mayella had a black eye. He pondered between the right and left side for quite some time. This proves that Mr. Tate may not be the most reliable witness because he is debating on which side is the “correct” answer. If you have a firm understanding of what you saw, you should have no problem answering this type of question. After Heck Tate finished, Bob Ewell came to the witness stand. Now, Mr. Ewell is not fond of African American’s. He shows no respect for them, and is what we would call racist. His grammar was not the best and he tried to be funny while the procession was happening. It was clear that Atticus and the Judge didn’t appreciate his attitude and behavior. Last but not least came Mayella. She claimed to be this fragile girl, yet in reality he is everything but. She tried to pull a “sob story”, and claimed that Atticus was mocking her. Also, every time she answered a question she looked at her father, almost making sure she had his approval. This raises suspicion on what kind of a household Bob Ewell runs and how he treats his children. I think that none of these witnesses are really credible since they all had flaws. I predict that Harper Lee put Heck, Bob and Mayella accounts in one chapter and Tom’s in another was because she wanted the reader to understand the differences between their accounts.

  12. margauxc

    During chapters seventeen through eighteen, the moral and conscience state of Maycomb is analyzed and captured in a suspenseful tone. Three of Mr. Gilmer’s witnesses are called to testify within tonight’s assigned pages- Heck Tate, Bob Ewell, and Mayella Ewell. Heck Tate is described by Scout to have worn, “an ordinary business suit, which made him look somehow like every other man… From that moment he ceased to terrify me.” (p. 224) Scout’s last phrase brings to light an interesting side of Tate’s character. Why would Scout be afraid of him? Scout’s hesitance towards the sheriff signifies that there may be something darker to his character. Bob Ewell, the second witness, seems to personify prejudice and evil. Yet, despite Bob’s infernal nature- it can be argued that the third and most important witness of Mr. Gilmer is Mayella Ewell- who metaphorically kills our mockingbird (Mr. Robinson). During the trial, Mayella seems to typifies what is to be expected of the average southern women- helpless, obedient, and fluid. Yes, she has been abused and neglected by her father, Robert Ewell, yet that certainly does not pardon her from sentencing an innocent man to death. Mayella is vicious and malevolent, due to how easily she can accuse Tom and how easily she can bend to her father’s will.

  13. maddy

    The commencing witness called upon to testify was Mr. Heck Tate. Being the sheriff of Maycomb County, Mr. Tate is a respectable authority figure. It is evident that he is regarded with considerable uneasiness and fear as a result. An intriguing occurrence that transpired during Mr. Tate’s testimony was when Atticus inquired which one of Mayella Ewell’s eyes had been blackened. Mr. Tate became befuddled as to going about this inquiry. It took him some time to formulate a response, and when doing so, he floundered betwixt two answers. The predominance of entries concerning Mr. Tate incorporate that this display conveyed his incapability to tell right from left. However, I disagree with this viewpoint. I find it difficult to believe that a presumably well-educated man, especially a sheriff, cannot tell right from left; why, children younger than Scout can do so! Perhaps Mr. Tate’s unsure, hesitant response to Atticus’ inquiry is rather further evidence indicative of the three witnesses’ testimonies being rehearsed, and riddled with falsehoods. A thesis such as this would be explanative of the numerous discrepancies Atticus has unearthed thus far. Additionally, if this thesis were to be correct, it would render Mr. Gilmer’s signature remark, “just-in-your own words,” applicably humorous and ironic.

  14. sofiad1

    In these chapters, Harper Lee shows the characteristics of Heck Tate, Bob Ewell, and Mayella Ewell very clearly. We see Bob as a very cocky man, who thinks he can get away with anything and everything. She portrays this by the way Scout is perceiving his posture, and how he reacts when he thinks he is losing. We also see a clear characterization of Heck Tate but in a different way. You can tell by the way he speaks to Atticus that he is very conferable talking to him, even though they are in front of the entire county. He comfortable testifying what he saw. And finally, Mayella Ewell. Clearly, very guarded, and scared to death of her father. We can also see that, while she is trying to act tough, she is a huge softie at heart.

  15. alexo

    In the chapters we read, the Ewells make many wrong moves in court, favoring towards Atticus’s side. If you read a chapter ahead, however, you’ll find that Tom Robinson made crucial mistakes.

    I bring this up because the mistakes made by both sides are not the fault of the people, but rather the lawyers. Even Atticus, who is a very kind person, even in the courthouse, messes up and confuses the witnesses. Throughout multiple questions, witnesses will make some mistakes, making them look bad and wrong. Even though our court system is good and i9s an amazing part of our country, I believe it to have flaws. Lawyers win cases through ways that I feel are tricky, and I see this in To Kill A Mockingbird as well.

    Aside from that, this case is an interesting one to me. Although the Ewells have an advantage over Tom Robinson because they’re white and he’s not, they’re not particularly liked either. This is a case between two people that are generally resented by most. I’m not sure if this will actually amount to anything in the case later on, but I wanted to bring it up.

  16. willowm

    In tonight’s chapters, Harper Lee characterizes the witnesses in Tom Robinson’s trial. Heck Tate was the first to be questioned. He is the sheriff of Maycomb county who we can assume is willing to stretch the truth, at least, for a friend. Tate says, “I was fetched by Bob-by Mr. Bob Ewell…” (pg 223) He goes on to do this again in his next response. In class we talked about the meaning of titles. It seems that in Maycomb people do not nonchalantly call others by their first name unless they are friendly. I believe he was friends with Mr. Ewell, and therefore was willing to lie for him in court. Another thing that interested me was how he dwelled on Mayella being hit in the right eye. This seemed to be disproved later in the trial when Atticus had to remind the ‘victim’ herself that she had also been hit in the eye.

    Bob Ewell was thee next person called up to the stand. I was interested in his appearance in this scene. He came clean and well dressed. Scout said “We also saw no resemblance to the family name.” (pg 227) It was as if he was dressed like he had something to prove, besides Tom Robinson being guilty. This makes me wonder what Mr. Ewell could gain from winning this trial, assuming that Tom Robinson is innocent. I remember back to the beginning of the book when we met Burris Ewells. He was the kid in Scout’s class who only showed up on the first day of school because he needed to be working. His family is very poor and does not have a great reputation. Maybe Mr. Ewell hopes to gain respect, so that his family name does not have such a bad reputation. We also see that Mr. Ewell is racist, and one can tell based on his use of ‘common language’ when referring to Tom Robinson. And because many people in Maycomb were racist, he was much more likely to win if he pinned the assault on an African American.

    Mayella Ewell was the last to be questioned. See was very easily set off by small things. She became upset when Atticus called he ma’am or Miss Mayella and claimed he was mocking her. She also cried throughout her testimony most likely, as Jem said, in an attempt to gain sympathy. Atticus asked Mayella if she loved her father. She responded “He does tollable, ‘cept when-… Except when nothin’.” (pg 245) From Mayella’s response, we can see that there is clearly something wrong. Based on our knowledge that Mr. Ewell has a drinking problem, I think that she was about to accidentally reveal that her father hurts her when he is drunk sometimes. I also think Mayella is lying because she keeps looking to her father. She is probably to scared of being abused by him to tell the truth. The best evidence that the witnesses have been lying appears when Mayella says that she doesn’t remember being hit in the face but then changes her answer after remembering Tate’s testimony. Atticus requested Tom stand up, revealing he was crippled, making it very unlikely that he did all of which he was accused. I feel bad for Mayella, because it appears that she is being forced to lie by her father and is being put in a very uncomfortable situation.

  17. cameronl3

    Harper Lee shows the personality of Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell, and Heck Tate through the messages they made during the prosecution. Heck Tate went first and goes on and on with answers to Atticus’s questions. He does not know his rights from lefts which shows he is not the most well-educated. Bob Ewell was called next. Being a “stereotypical” white southerner who is very fast to respond, he becomes very offended when Atticus brings up his literacy and not being respected in Maycomb. Mayella Ewell is the lady called to testify. Mayella cries through much of the trial, and does not know what to do. She studders mid-sentence many times and stares at her father, as if she does not want to do anything to upset him. Mayella Ewell is very confused and most likely being assisted by her father.

  18. marinas1

    In tonight’s reading, we see three different witnesses testifying their accounts of the night Meyalla Ewell got (supposedly) abused by Tom Robinson. The first to be questioned is the sheriff of Maycomb, Heck Tate. For the most part, Heck Tate seems like a kind and law-abiding citizen of Maycomb. During his trial, however, there are a few “slip-ups”, in which Heck Tate stumbles over his words or gets facts mixed-up and confused. At the very beginning of his trial, Harper Lee depicts Heck as “touching his glasses and speaking to his knees…” (p.223), which may lead one to believe that Heck is nervous to testify, and, in turn, one may think Heck is not be ready to relay details that were created and not seen. Heck Tate then goes on to talk about Robert E. Lee Ewell, who seems to be a friend of Heck’s, for Heck calls him “Bob”. This small fact lead me to speculate that Heck Tate is supporting a friend rather than testifying against a horrible fiend of nature. Later in his testimony, Heck completely messes up, a fact that is discovered later in the trial. He declares that Mayella was hit on the right side of her face, which means that someone must have been hitting her with his/her left hand. However, as mentioned later in the novel, Tom Robinson has a crippled left arm, making it impossible for him to have hit Mayella.

    The next person to testify is Robert E. Lee Ewell. As he comes up to testify, Scout gives quite a humorous description of his face. She proclaims “…a man rose and strutted to the stand, the back of his neck reddening at the sound of his name. When he turned around to take the oath, we saw that his face was as red as his neck.” (p.227) This dipiction is truly hilarious, for I thought Harper Lee must literally be calling Bob a “red neck”. At the beginning of his testimony, he curses frequently, and is quite rude to Mr. Gilmer and Atticus. What follows is a hectic account of what happened, with Bob running to and from his house on multiple occasions. An personality shines through as his testimony continues. When Atticus is questioning him, Harper Lee writes “It was becoming evident that [Bob] thought Atticus an easy match.” (p.236) Through this, we see how Bob Ewell is quite egotistical and narcissistic. He thinks that he can outwit Atticus, one of the smartest men in Maycomb. This gives us another look into the lives of the Ewell’s. They live in a shack, and can barely afford food. Yet, they still consider themselves above others. This reminded me of how Aunt Alexandra talked about “Fine Folk”, and how Scout questioned whether the Ewell’s were “Fine Folk”, for they had been on the same plot of land for a long period of time. Switching gears, when Atticus’s questioning of Bob Ewell is just about finished, Atticus asks Bob to write his name. Bob writes his name with his right hand, further proving Atticus’s speculations about how Tom Robinson is not the one at fault here, but really Bob Ewell.

    The last to testify is Mayella Ewell, the one abused. She starts off her testimony crying, an act that even seems to evoke pity from Judge Taylor. Everything runs smoothly, until Atticus begins to question her. Once he begins, she yells and complains that Atticus is mocking her, and should be stopped. She says “‘Won’t answer a word you say as long as you keep on mockin’ me… Long’s he keeps on callin’ me ma’am an say in’ Miss Mayella.'” (p.243) This particular outburst caught my attention. First of all, this outburst shows us that Mayella has never been called “Miss” before in her entire nineteen years of life. She had never experienced true courteously from anyone. This evokes pity from the reader, for her reaction just further accentuates how awful her living situation is. Then again, I (kind of) saw this as stalling. In her case particularly, would she not want to answer all the questions so that her attacker could be put in jail faster? If I was in her position, I would certaintly want Tom Robinson put in jail as quickly as possible. In spite of Mayella’s actions, I began to speculate that Tom Robinson did not harm her in any way, for she does not fear him, and is also not resilient in her mission to send him to jail.

  19. ivanl

    Harper Lee develops the personalities of 3 characters at the prosecution; Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell, and Heck Tate. Heck Tate, the first to testify explains how he was called by Bob Ewell claiming he saw Tom Robinson raping his daughter. Heck Tate doesn’t know his lefts from his rights, showing that he might not be the sharpest tool in the shed. Next is Bob Ewell, which Harper Lee distinctly characterizes. Bob Ewell is a rude man and not very respected in Maycomb County. He isn’t the best kept either, his house being very dirty aside from the flowers that Mayella has. Atticus also questions his ability to read, which also suggests that Bob isn’t very well educated either. Mayella is characterized in the testimony as a very weak and dependent on her father. All throughout the trial she looks at her father, perhaps afraid of giving something away. This could be true because when Atticus tells Tom to stand up, we find out that he is crippled. The bruises on Mayella’s face may have been from her father, based by her actions while testifying. Mayella also cries a lot, a sign most people take as weakness or fear.

  20. Esha Pandya

    During the trial of Tom Robinson, there were three witnesses called up to testify: Heck Tate, Bob Ewell, and Mayella. What intrigued me the most about the trial was how Scout paid attention to everything Atticus did and said. When it was Heck Tate’s turn to testify, Scout says how there are no overreactions to any information given during Atticus’ questioning. “With his infinite capacity to calm turbulent seas…” (page 236) Scout noticed how no matter the number of questions Atticus asked, or the number of times he made the witness repeat himself, the crowd and the witness never grew frustrated. Although this case can have a severe punishment towards Tom Robinson, Atticus made it seem as if nothing would happen. When he was trying the prove his point, Atticus would make it calmly, arousing no angered shouts from the crowd. He was a skilled lawyer, and knew how to stay calm while trying to get the information he wanted. As Scout said, Atticus has enough patience to stay calm without any angry bursts of frustration. He proves this by constantly asking Mr. Tate to repeat his answers exactly as said before, while repeating questions to make sure he has the correct answer.

    The next person up for trial is Mr. Bob Ewell. He appears to be confident in his testimony, proudly answering Atticus to prove he didn’t do anything wrong. Just as Atticus questioned Mr. Tate thoroughly, he questioned Mr. Ewell the same way. However, some of the questions asked were irrelevant to the trial. Atticus asked Mr. Ewell if he could read and write, and goes on to ask if he could show everyone. At this, Scout begins to doubt Atticus’ actions by asking this question. “Atticus seemed to know what he was doing–but it seemed to me that he’d gone frog-sticking without a light. Never, never, never, on cross-examination ask a witness a question you don’t already know the answer to…” (page 237) Scout saw this as basic knowledge when on trial. How could Atticus prove his point if he didn’t know whether or not Mr. Ewell was left-handed? After all, he could have been right-handed, throwing away Atticus’ theory. The analogy Scout made to frog-sticking was how Atticus was doing an extremely hard, almost impossible, task of defending an African American, and he doesn’t have all the information he needs. Without the right evidence, Atticus could lose the case. Asking Mr. Ewell to write his name was a big risk. If he wasn’t left-handed, the case could be lost. Scout didn’t think this was a smart move on Atticus’ part. She didn’t want her father to lose the case to prove that Tom Robinson was innocent. She was tired of Atticus being made fun of, and wanted to see him win. But, without the correct knowledge, there was a chance Atticus’ point would be lost.

    The last to testify was Mayella, who was supposedly abused by Tom Robinson. She immediately starts off by crying, making everyone think she was afraid of Atticus. She was really drawing sympathy from others to make sure they would believe her. Atticus saw through this, and asked his questions like he did with the other two witnesses. He asked questions that might have seemed irrelevant, but had a purpose to show the entire court. Scout notices what Atticus is doing, thinking it’s smart for everyone to know the Ewell’s lifestyle. “…I began to see the patterns of Atticus’s questions…Atticus was quietly building up before the jury a picture of the Ewells’ home life.” (page 244) Why this was important was unknown by several people. They didn’t know how the Ewells’ life could affect the trial. However, if Atticus could prove that Mr. Ewell was abusive at home, he could prove that it was really him that abused Mayella. She gave proof that Mr. Ewell became intolerable at time, which could mean that he hit her. Scout noticed what Atticus was trying to uncover. If Mr. Ewell was abusive at home, and left-handed, he could have been the one to abuse Mayella.

  21. Kathrynr

    These few chapters were quite interesting. Before I talk about the characters I would like to point out that I found it interesting how Harper Lee is writing about the trial. She stretches it out starting in chapter 16. Every chapter I read I kept thinking this is when we will find out the verdict, but then the chapter ends. Harper Lee does this purposefully to really capture the details of this trial and show it’s importance to the story line. The characters that testify against Tom all seem to have some sort of bias or preset belief that Tom is guilty. I was especially interested in Mayella. Mayella was the one who was raped. However after being questioned by Atticus she crumples and yells at the whole courthouse, telling them to convict Tom. Even though I believe that Mayella was beaten by her father I still think that Tom and Atticus will still lose the case.

  22. adam

    HeIn these chapters, Harpee Lee describes and displays the personalities of three witnesses for the prosecution. Atticus was very inquisitive towards Mr. Tate. He asked many questions about Ewell’s injuries, each of his answers were spoken in confidence as he knew every detail and mark. Bon Ewell was very nervous but prepared, but Mayella’s version was the most important. At first, she struggles to answer questions, and claims she is afraid of Atticus. She bursts into tears and eventually gathers herself. Next, she claims her father had never touched her, and admits that Robinson was the attacker. I am curious if her father was not there, if she would have had a different answer. Then, it is found that Robsonson has a shrivled hand, but Mayella still believes it was him, although she doesn’t know how, and breaks into tears of frustration. The case is very complex and am interested in how it will effect the novel.

  23. George

    After last nights reading i noticed many things about some of the people in Maycomb. The sheriff Heck Tate is a good person though is not very smart. He means well and does his job however he does have sympathy for some so he bends the law in their favor. Then we have Bob Ewell an ordinary person, very traditional and quite racist. He represents the majority of Maycomb and the south.
    Also in these chapters we see people being put up on the stand and lying like Heck Tate. He goes up to the stand and for quite a while jumps between two answers for a very simple question. It seems that he is either lying or too nervous to formulate an answer.

  24. alekhya

    Based on Mayella injuries and Tom Robinson’s testament, it seems as if though Bob Ewell heat his daughter and threatened her from telling the truth at court. Atticus is clearly an intelligent clever lawyer, his questions drawing doubt from the witnesses and leading them to say what he wants them to say. based on the evidence Tom Robinson is a cripple in the arm that would have punched Mayella.

    1. alekhya

      (continued) Mr Ewell and his daughter Mayella repeatedly used profane language and rather than answer Atticus’ questions directly they would turn their answers into remarks of distaste for Atticus. While Bob’s account was more clear Mayela, in the end didn’t really do much confessing. Tom Robinson on the other hand has a story which seems a lot more credible based on the way he treats the court and Atticus with respect and never falters.

  25. Rebecca F

    The fact that the town seemed to take the Ewell’s word over that of Robinson. Although they are white, the Ewell family lives on a plot of land in a dump. They only ever attend the first day of school and live in squalor and filth. Yet, their word is taken over Robinson’s simply due to the fact that Bob Ewell is white and Tom Robinson is black.
    The testimonies of Bob Ewell and Tom Robinson although important, paled in comparison to that of Mayella. I believe that Mayella lied when she said that Tom is the one who raped her. She bursts into tears and is nervous when Atticus questions her. Like Adam, if Bob had not been present, I believe that Mayella Ewell may have had a different story to tell.

  26. Toa Neil

    I noticed how when Bob Ewell testified people laughed, in Mayella’s people acted sympathetic, for Tate the were respectful but were shocked about Tom’s testimony.

  27. Toa Neil

    I noticed how when Bob Ewell testified people laughed, in Mayella’s people acted sympathetic, for Tate the were respectful but were shocked about Tom’s testimony. However Atticus plays the room rather well and provides doubt.

  28. laurena2

    In this reading we see that Heck Tate is not the brightest, however he still has the job of being the sheriff of Macomb. Bob Ewell had everything against African Americans. In all cases, he is completely against them. Lastly, Mayella Ewell feels as though she can not form her own ideas and must go along with whatever her father says. Mayella is unable to form her own distinct personality.


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