Mayella Ewell Character Analysis

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Mayell Ewell Essay
Ava Chong

Mayella Ewell Character Analysis

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee presents Mayell Ewell as a complex, round character with traits that evoke various feeling from the reader. In one light, “she seemed somehow fragile-looking” (179). She is scared of what would happen to her if anyone found out she was lying. The questioning became too much and made her “stare at (Judge Taylor) and burst into tears” (179). The crying showed her emotional and fragile side of her. The fact that there was a bigger, more powerful being forcing her to act a certain way scared her. She continued to cry at certain times and didn’t answer some of Atticus’s questions. She was scared of what would happen if they didn’t win the case. Mayella was already abused by her father and could easily be abused again if she wasn’t convincing enough.

Mayella needed to be manipulative to convince the jury that she was raped. After telling the story, “the recital had given her confidence” (181). She was simply fed the manipulative, emotion-twisting story by her father. She stuck with her story and made it convincing. She strongly says “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” (188). Mayella “was as good as her word”, and her word told the jury they were cowards (188). She was able to manipulate them by making them question their own worth. Her “terror and fury” was what could make her more believable (188). In Tom’s testimony he says that Mayella tried to manipulate him into kissing her. She got him into her house to fix the hinges on the door. Even though he did this willingly, she went furthermore into trying to seduce him.

The meaning for Mayella to try to seduce Tom was because she was incredibly lonely. “She was even lonelier than Boo Radley” because her mother was dead, she didn’t have any friends, and she felt out of place (191). Boo Radley had...
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