To Kill a Mockingbird

Atticus questions 4 witnesses.. what kind of impressions do each character makes? How witness behaves on stand?

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Heck Tate testifies first, telling the court that he found Mayella with facial injuries and confirming that a doctor was not called - indicating that a rape was not believed to have had occured. His evidence contrasts with the crude and ignorant testimony of Bob Ewell. The reader, and probably most of the courtroom, find him base and repulsive. He is arrogant and cocky, and his use of his left hand clarifies his guilt in Mayella's assault.

Mayella testifies in Chapter 18. She is defensive on the stand, and lies to protect the last remnants of dignity she has. Like Tom Robinson, we pity her, but we also see her anger as dangerous.

Tom testifies last, and is honest and dignified on te stand. Unfortunately he is too honest: he tells the jury he 'felt sorry' for Mayella. He relates how he did odd jobs for her, then tried to refuse her embrace witnessed by her father. He has overstepped the 'place' of a black man at the time of the text:the jury will never tolerate a black man offering pity to a white woman. It is sadly easier for them to accept a most improbable rape.