Tkam Chapter 17-20 Summary

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The trial begins. Heck Tate is the first witness. Under cross-examination, he admits that a doctor was never called to the scene to examine Mayella Ewell. Bob Ewell takes the stand next and causes a stir in the courtroom with his bad attitude and foul language. Mr. Ewell is not shaken from his story, but Atticus carefully plants the seed that Mr. Ewell himself could've beaten Mayella. Mayella takes the stand next. Even though Atticus believes that she's lying, he treats her with courtesy and respect; Mayella thinks that he's making fun of her. Her testimony soon proves that Mayella is unused to gentility and common courtesy. Atticus asks Tom to stand up so that Mayella may identify him; as he does, Scout notices that Tom's left arm is withered and useless — he could not have committed the crime in the way it was described. The state rests its case.

Atticus calls only one witness — Tom Robinson. Tom tells the true story, being careful all the while not to come right out and say that Mayella is lying. However, Tom makes a fatal error when he admits under cross-examination that he, a black man, felt sorry for Mayella Ewell. Dill has a very emotional response to Mr. Gilmer's questioning and leaves the courtroom in tears. Scout follows Dill outside, where they talk with Dolphus Raymond, who reveals the secret behind his brown bag and his drinking. Scout and Dill return to the courtroom in time to hear the last half of Atticus's impassioned speech to the jury. Just as Atticus finishes, Calpurnia walks into the courtroom and heads toward Atticus.
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