To Kill a Mockingbird-Mayellas Motives for Accusing Tom

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In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee there is a recurring them involving racism and incest in the town of Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930’s. Mayella Ewell is a nineteen year old girl living at home with her abusive drunk father, and 8 younger brothers and sisters. Her mother died thus leaving her to be the mother figure in the poor household. Mayella accuses twenty-five year old black man Tom Robinson of raping her. Mayella had multiple motives for falsely accusing Tom Robinson of her rape. Mayella accused Tom because she was forced to by her father, Bob Ewell and because that man is her father.

It is made very clear during the trial that it was not Tom Robinson who raped Mayella Ewell, but instead her own father. She blamed Robinson because she was evidently coersed by Bob Ewell. In Tom’s testimony he spoke of Mayella’s actions before Bob Ewell came in, “She says she never kissed a man before an’ she might as well kiss a nigger. She says what her papa do to her don’t count” (page 260). When Bob saw Mayella and Tom together being the mean drunk he is he beat and raped Mayella. In anger, he knew someone would have to pay for what he saw going on between Tom and Mayella. It was not hard to convince people in a town like Maycomb that Tom was guilty. He was black, he had a criminal record known to the citizens of Maycomb since it was such a small town, and he lived in the same neighborhood as the Ewells. People had most likely seen Tom entering the Ewell home because on more than one occasion, Mayella asked Tom to come in and help do some work around the house. “She’d call me in, suh. Seemed like every time I passed yonder she’d have some little somethin’ for me to do” (page 56). Mayella was coursed by her own father to accuse Tom because Tom was such an easy target to cover up her father’s actions.

Mayella falsely accused Tom Robinson for another reason too. For the most part, victims love their abusers. Mayella is the victim and Bob Ewell...
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