To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 18

What seems strange about Mayella Ewell’s testimony regarding the accusations against Tom Robinson? How do her actions when she is up on the stand increase our speculation of what actually happened?

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On the witness stand, Mayella shows she is accustomed to being treated without respect when she thinks Atticus is deliberately mocking her by calling her "Miss." She appears quite afraid of Atticus. Her reluctance to say Tom's name when asked to name her rapist increases our speculation, but she does surrender to fear and accuse him, thus putting her fear of public humiliation over the value of his life.