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Mayella Ewell - Charlie and Katrina by Mind Map: Mayella Ewell - Charlie and Katrina
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Mayella Ewell - Charlie and Katrina

Looks Like

Fragile

"fragile-looking,..."(195), Scout describes Mayella in this way but after making this statement she quickly changes her view.

Dirty

"looked as if she tied to keep clean.", The Ewell's are known as dirty people but this tells us that Mayella has some self care.

Big and has a strong build.

"she was, a thick-bodied girl..." (195), From this we can see that Mayella is a character who carries out manuel labour.

Acts Like

Mayella acts as if she is innocent and helpless. During the court case, she breaks down several times and starts crying.

"She's got enough sense to get the Judge sorry for her,..."(196), Mayella uses this to her advantage as a way to get the Jury and Judge to fell sorry for her.

Mayella is also someone who hesitates. Throughout her testimony, Atticus asks her several questions where she either takes her time to answer or says the wrong thing and quickly changes it.

"Do you remember him beating you about the face? The witness hesitated." (201), Through Mayella's weak testimonies, we can see that she is hiding the truth and is being forced to lie. This also shows us that maybe Mayella does not wantss to tell the truth.

The reader can tell that Mayella acts as if she is afraid. During the trial, she seems scared of Atticus but she is also frightened of letting the truth out.

"No, I don't recollect if he hit me. I mean yes I do, he hit me." (202), We can see here that Mayella lets out the truth but then quickly tries to cover it up again. She is scared of letting out the truth as she would be shamed for doing what she did and her father would harm her.

Motivated by

Mayella’s main motivation for tempting Tom Robinson was loneliness.

“… it came to me that Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world. She was even lonelier than Boo Radley, who had not been out of the house in twenty-five years. When Atticus asked had she any friends, she seemed not to know what he meant, then she thought he was making fun of her…” (p.102), She didn’t have any friends at all and was stuck in her house all day, slaving away at chores. Because she was so lonely, she took the very first chance she saw of getting some attention and affection.

The main reason for Mayella accusing Tom Robinson of raping her was because she was afraid of her father.

“Do you love your father, Miss Mayella?” He does tollable, ‘cept when-“ 
“Except when he’s drinking?” asked Atticus so gently that Mayella nodded. “Does he ever go after you?”
 “How you mean?”
 “When he’s—riled, has he ever beaten you?”
 Mayella looked around, down at the court reporter, up at the judge. (p.97), It is fairly obvious to the reader that it was in fact Bob Ewell who beat her, and she was probably afraid that he beat her again if she told anyone. Although Mayella eventually answers that her father has never beaten her, it’s obvious that she is nervous and reluctant to answer these questions.

Mayella is motivated by fear and guilt.

“…’I have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness for the state, but my pity does not extend so far as to her putting a man’s life at stake, which she has done in an effort to get rid of her own guilt. I say guilt, gentlemen, because it was guilt that motivated her. She has committed no crime, she has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with… What did she do? She tempted a Negro. She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man… No code mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards…” (p.109), She knows in her heart that Tom Robinson is innocent and a good man, and the only man who has ever shown her any kindness, but because he is black, she knows that what she did was against the cultural norm.

Textual issues or concerns linked to this character

Mayella’s loneliness links into the theme of community.

“…She has committed no crime, she has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with… What did she do? She tempted a Negro…” (p. 109), Her lack of companionship is what drives her to kiss Tom Robinson. However, because kissing a black person (if you are white) is a thing that is looked down on by society, she quickly becomes ashamed and puts Tom Robinson in the wrong.

Many people of Maycomb find themselves isolated for different reasons. Boo Radley in his house, the negroes in their settlement, and Mayella on her property.

“… it came to me that Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world. She was even lonelier than Boo Radley, who had not been out of the house in twenty-five years…”, No one wants to socialise with the Ewells because of the stigma attached to their family. Because of this isolation, Mayella feels extremely lonely and this is the links back to the reason for her accusation of Tom Robinson.

How others see him or her

Through the Eyes of Scout, Mayella is a very lonely Character. She does not have any real friends and her family members seems to ignore her.

"Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world."(209), Scout comes to this conclusion as other white folks dont want to be around the Ewell's and the black people wouldn't have anything to do with the white folk. Mayella was clearly living an unhappy life so she uses Tom as comfort.

Many other people in Maycomb feel sorry for Mayella. Tom Robinsons is one of those characters.

"Yes suh. I felt right sorry for her,..." (214), Coming from a coloured person, this really said something. It was highly uncommon for a black person to ever feel sorry for white folk, so for Tom to say this truly meant that Mayella needed someone to help her out.

The Jury see Mayella as a fragile woman. Most young white women during those times were considered helpless timid victims who needed protection.

"That nigger yonder took advantage of me, an' if you fine fancy gentlemen don't wanta do nothin' about it then you're all yellow stinkin' cowards, stinkin' cowards, the lot of you." (205), This is said by Mayella during her testimony. By saying this, the men on the Jury feel as though they have to stand up and protect Mayella like real men would which is therefore why they take her word over Tom's.

Beliefs and values

Mayella looks down on black people as below her, because she is white.

“…All the little man on the witness stand had that made him any better than his nearest neighbors was, that if scrubbed with lye soap in very hot water, his skin was white…” (p.91), Even though her family is the lowest in their society, and looked down on by everyone else in Maycomb, they are still ranked higher than the black people of the town, simply because of their skin colour. She orders Tom Robinson to do chores for her. Not asks; orders.

Mayella’s guilt from tempting Tom Robinson is so strong that she has made herself believe that he was the one at fault; not her.

“No, I don’t recollect if he hit me. I mean yes I do, he hit me.” (p98), Out of desperation she quickly made up a story as to not be ridiculed by the town, or beaten by her father. This is clear to see when in the trial, her evidence shows gaps, and it becomes obvious that she is making up the story.

We do not know too much about Mayella’s family history or family values. However, we can assume that her father is most likely physically abusive towards her, which has probably twisted her morals. She knows that her family is considered trash in Maycomb.

“…Atticus said the Ewells had been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations. None of them had done an honest day’s work in his recollection…”, Mayella is probably quite a miserable person. Who wouldn’t be, knowing that everyone thinks that you’re scum?