“A young girl walked to the witness stand.” (Pg. 195), She is only 19 years old and is quite young in comparison to the rest of the court.
“She somehow seemed fragile looking…she stared at him and burst into tears.” (Pg.195), Scout notices that she looks fragile and her behaviour in court suggests that she is.
In Maycomb County, it was easy to tell when someone bathed regularly, as opposed to yearly lavations…Mayella looked as if she tried to keep clean-" (Pg. 195), Mayella wants to look clean but her family and upbringing makes her unclean.
“‘then what happened?’ ‘I don’t remember too good,’” (p199) & “Mayella looked around, down at the court reporter, up at the judge. “Answer the question, Miss Mayella” said Judge Taylor. (p203), Accusing Tom Robinson of raping her is Mayella’s attempt of escaping the guilt and shame of doing the ‘unspeakable thing’ of ‘kissing’ a black man. It is clear to the reader that Mayella is lying and that she is guilty of what she said she didn’t do.
“Just tell us what happened. You can do that, cant you?” Mayella stared at him and burst into tears…Judge Taylor let her cry for a while, then he said “That’s enough now.” (p197), Mayella acted in a very melodramatic way when confronted with this question. It was a very simple one at that and required a not too difficult answer. Due to the fact that she was lying, she over dramatized in order to get the judge and audience to sympathize over her. However, it is understandable that she may be quite sensitive after her acclaimed ‘attack’, but no one expected her to suddenly burst into tears after only just entering the witness stand.
“Now you’re a big girl, so you just sit up straight and tell the – tell us what happened to you. You can do that, can’t you?” (p198) & “Mr Finch is not making fun of you. What’s the matter with you?” (p200), Mayella does not seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation. She messes around with unhelpful answers and overreacts in an immature way when things that are unfamiliar to her are said.
Who are your friends?” The witness frowned as if puzzled. “Friends?” (p202), Mayella is a very lonely girl. She lives with her drunk father and seven younger siblings, which never allows for her to interact with people other than her family. The fact that she has no friends was one of the reasons that she came onto Tom in the first place. She was desperately seeking some attention driven by the loneliness that she felt.
“My paw’s never touched a hair o’ my head in my life,” she declared firmly. “He never touched me.” (p203), This was a lie. It was her father who beat her in the first place which resulted in the whole court case. She lies to protect him, as she is scared of what he might do to her if she does not. She has always lived by her fathers rules and always abides by them. She doesn’t respect him, yet she still fells that she must protect him.
"I got somethin' to say an' then I ain't gonna say no more. 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. Your fancy airs don't come to nothin'—your ma'amin' and Miss Mayellerin' don't come to nothin', Mr. Finch-" (p207), Mayella uses Tom’s race to her advantage to influence the audience and Judge Taylor. The Ewells know that the only people lower than them on the social scale are the ‘negro’ population. Most people were prejudiced against black people and therefore would not require much evidence to have him locked up, justice aside.
‘Mayella looked as if she tried to keep clean, and I was reminded of the row of red geraniums in the Ewell yard.’ (p197), Mayella is very aware of her life situation. She is a lonely girl that lives in a dirty house next to a dump. Her red geraniums, which she grows in her front yard, symbolise the beauty that she seeks and of her wishful thinking. The thought of a secret affair would have also been very appealing to Mayella as a way of escaping her current home situation.
“Who beat you up? Tom Robinson or your father?” No answer. “What did your father see in the window, the crime of rape, or the best defence to it? Why don’t you tell the truth, child? Didn’t Bob Ewell beat you up?” … Mayella’s face was a mixture of terror and fury. (p207), Once Atticus lays down his questions and evidence, it is clear the Mayella is a victim of domestic abuse; she is beaten by her father.
"Against the fence, in a line, were six chipped-enamel slop jars holding brilliant red geraniums, cared for as tenderly as if they belonged to Miss Maudie Atkinson, had Miss Maudie deigned to permit a geranium on her premises. People said they were Mayella Ewell's.", Mayella is stuck in a life she doesn't want to be in, because of her fathers abuse, even though we don't get to hear what Mayella's dreams are you can recognise that she wants to be free and a better person. The red geraniums being the only beautiful thing on the Ewell property represent the hope that Mayella has for her future.
"Mayella was silent..'It's an easy question, Miss Mayella, so I'll try again. Do you remember him beating you about in the face?'..''No, I don't recollect if he hit me. I mean yes I do, he hit me." (Pg. 201-202), In the court case Atticus made very valid arguments against Mayella, and she couldn't respond back because what she was saying wasn't the truth.
"The boy stood up. He was the filthiest human I had ever seen." (Pg.28) -, Mayella comes from the Ewell family, that is known for being white trash. Her younger brother Burris, gets sent home from school because he's so filthy and he has 'cooties in his hair'. This shows what sort of family Mayella comes from.
"Who are your friends? The witness frowned as if puzzled. 'Friends?'" (Pg. 200), A reason why Mayella might have befriended Tom Robinson in the first place was because she needed a friend. She doesn't associate with many people, assumedly because of the situation with her dominating father.