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To Kill A Mockingbird - Chapter 17

By Charlie and Akash
by

Charlie Paras

on 14 May 2015

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Transcript of To Kill A Mockingbird - Chapter 17

Mr. Tate testifies that after he rushed to the Ewell house, he found Mayella, Mr. Ewell's daughter, lying on the floor. Mayella tells Mr. Tate that she had been raped by Tom Robinson. After assessing her injuries, he goes to Tom's house and brings him into the jail.
To Kill A Mockingbird - Chapter 17
Plot
Chapter 17 begins with the prosecution directly questioning Heck Tate, Maycomb's sheriff. He is asked to recount the night of November 21st, when he was called down to the Ewell house.
Tate's Testimony
Mr. Heck Tate
After Mr. Gilmer finishes his questioning, Atticus goes up to question Mr. Tate. Atticus asks some seemingly unimportant questions, such as if a doctor was called, what injuries were there, or which side was Mayella most bruised on. These questions are part of a tactic used by Atticus that will be more apparent later.
Mr. Ewell Is Called to the Stand
After the court settles down from the previous questioning, Mr. Gilmer calls Mr. Ewell to the stand. It is obvious that this is his first time in court, and his remarks are often followed by laughter. After being told to behave by the judge, he tells his version of what went on that night.
Atticus's Plan
Mr. Ewell explains that he was coming in from the woods with a load of kindling when he heard Mayella screaming. He dropped what he was doing and ran inside, only to see her getting raped. When asked who by Mr. Gilmer, Mr. Ewell loudly exclaims "-I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella!". After the uproar that comes from this statement, Judge Taylor reminds everyone that if they are not quiet, they better leave the court room, and that if Mr. Ewell does not clean up his language, he will be charged with contempt.
"I was fetched by Bob-by Mr. Bob Ewell yonder, one night-" (Lee 223)
Heck Tate begins to explain what happened on the night of the incident.
Characterization
This chapter takes place here, at the Maycomb courthouse. The time is a few hours after noon; the year being 1935. Scout, Jem, and Dill are with Reverend Sykes spectating the courtroom from the balcony.
Setting
Mr. Ewell Returns to the Stand
Akash Kunchum and Charlie Paras
"Below us, heads turned, feet scraped the floor, babies were shifted to shoulders, and a few children scampered out of the courtroom" (Lee 226).
Scout (Narrator) describes how much of a public event this trial really was.
Mr. Ewell tries to sit down, but Atticus stops him and questions him some more. Atticus begins his usual questioning, asking small questions which lead to larger, loaded ones. Atticus then asks a question that seems irrelevant to everyone in the court, which is if Mr Ewell can read or write. After an objection from the prosecution, which is overruled, Atticus takes a pen from his pocket, and asks Mr. Ewell to write his name. As he does so he writes with his left hand, a key piece of information in Atticus's strategy. Mayella was beat mainly on the right side of her face, which is something a left handed attacker would do.
Mr. Bob Ewell
Discussion Questions
1. Why is Mr. Ewell being left-handed important to Atticus's disproving of Mr. Robinson's accused crime?

2. Why do you think Atticus asked if Mr. Ewell or Mr. Tate had called a doctor six times total in this chapter?

3. Do you think Atticus would win the case if he had an extremely convincing argument?
Mr. Ewell Gives His Statement
"'But you didn't call a doctor? While you were there did anyone send for one, fetch one, carry her to one?'
Judge Taylor broke in. 'He's answered the question three times, Atticus.'
Atticus said, 'I just wanted to make sure, Judge,' and the judge smiled." (Lee 224)
Atticus is portrayed as very calm and relaxed figure. He is very intuitive, as he asks the same question multiple times. The judge also, smiles after hearing Atticus's very subtle response, showing that both people are amiable.
Themes
"With one phrase he had turned happy picnickers into a sulky, tense, murmuring crowd, being slowly hypnotized by gavel taps until the only sound in the courtroom was a dim pink-pink-pink" (Lee 232).
Scout (Narrator) explains two of the various themes displayed in this chapter: racism and maturity.
When Mr. Ewell made his racist statement, the crowd went dim, realizing that this trial, although public, was a very mature and serious concept.
Other themes include Good vs. Bad, Righteousness, and Life in Small Towns
Full transcript