To Kill a Mockingbird

Describe Tom Robinson

What is Tom's testimony and how does it differ from Mayella's?

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Mayella tells Mr. Gilmer that her father asked her to chop up an old chiffarobe (chest of drawers) for kindling, but she didn't feel strong enough. When Tom Robinson walked by, she asked him to do it for a nickel. She claims that she went inside for the money, and Tom followed her, pushed her to the floor, and took advantage of her while she screamed and tried to fight back. Then, her father arrived and Tom ran away.

Tom says that he passed the Ewell house as usual, and everything seemed very quiet. Mayella asked him to come inside and fix a broken door, but when he got inside the house, the door didn't look broken. Then, Mayella shut the door behind him and said she had sent the children to town to get ice cream, having saved for a very long time to be able to give each child a nickel. Tom starts to leave, but she asks him to take a box down from on top of another chiffarobe. As Tom reached for the box, Mayella grabbed him around his legs. He was so startled that he overturned a chair. Next, she hugged him round the waist and kissed his cheek, and as Tom explains, said that, "she never kissed a grown man before an' she might as well kiss a nigger. She says what her pap do to her don't count." Mayella asks him to kiss her back, and Tom asks her to let him out of the house. However, her back is to the door, and he doesn't want to force her to move. He knows that as a black man, if he lays a hand on her he could later be killed. Then Mr. Ewell arrives, happens upon the scene, calls his daughter a "goddamn whore," and tells her he will kill Tom. Tom runs away in fear.