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To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 18 Annotations
Transcript of To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 18 Annotations
Mayella enters the witness stand “Mayella looked as if she tried to keep clean, and I was reminded of the row of red geraniums in the Ewell yard” (179). “’Don’t want him doin’ me like he done Papa, tryin’ to make him out lefthanded…’” (179). Mayella makes her accusation against Tom Robinson of rape "... when she sat facing us in the witness chair she became what she was, a thick-bodied girl accustomed to strenuous labor" (Lee 179). “Apparently Mayella’s recital had given her confidence, but it was not her father’s brash kind: there was something stealthy about hers, like a steady-eyed cat with a twitchy tail” (181). Atticus starts questioning Mayella “Mayella looked from under lowered eyelids at Atticus, but she said to the judge: ‘Long’s he keeps on callin’ me ma’am an sayin’ Miss Mayella. I don’t hafta take his sass, I ain’t called upon to take it’...I wondered if anybody had ever called her ‘ma’am,’ or ‘Miss Mayella’ in her life; probably not, as she took offense to routine courtesy. What on earth was her life like?” (182). “Miss Mayella,” said Atticus, in spite of himself, “a nineteen-year-old girl like you must have friends. Who are your friends?”
The witness frowned as if puzzled. “Friends?”
“Yes, don’t you know anyone near your age, or older, or younger? Boys and girls? Just ordinary friends?”
Mayella’s hostility , which had subsided to grudging neutrality, flared again. “You makin’ fun o’me agin, Mr. Finch?” 183 Atticus questions Mayella about her dad. Although she denies it, her dad likely beats her regularly when he is drunk. Tom Robinson is asked to stand up and is identified by Mayella “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” (186). “You were screaming all this time?”
“I certainly was.”
“Then why didn’t the other children hear you? Where were they? At the dump?”
“Where were they?”
No answer. 187 Atticus proposes that the rape is fictional and that Mayella’s bruises were due to her father beating her “’Who beat you up? Tom Robinson or your father?’
‘What did your father see in the window, the crime of rape or the best defense to it? Why don’t you tell the truth, child, didn’t Bob Ewell beat you up?’” (187). “I guess if she hadn’t been so poor and ignorant, Judge Taylor would have put her under the jail for the contempt she had shown everybody in the courtroom. Somehow, Atticus had hit her hard in a way that was not clear to me, but it gave him no pleasure to do so.” (188).
SUMMARY Atticus is about to call his witness, presumably Tom Robinson, to testify