Examples Of Mayella Ewell A Weak Character In To Kill A Mockingbird

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In the aftermath of World War I, the United States fell into the Great Depression where racism reached an all time high, as addressed in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird. The story takes place in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, in which a caucasian woman wrongly faulted a colored man of raping her, and won the trial solely because of her race. The accuser, Mayella Ewell, has received controversy by readers as to whether she is a powerful or powerless character based on the elements of class, gender, and race. Although Mayella’s race advances the belief that she is dominant, in reality her class and gender depict her as helpless.
To begin, she is a weak character through the literary elements of class and gender. The Ewell family
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In the middle of Tom Robinson’s trial, one of the narrator 's good friends, Dill, broke down and began to cry. He observed that Tom Robinson’s attorney was “talking so hateful to him...The way that man called him ‘boy’ all the time an’ sneered at him.” (Doc C) This demonstrates how the white people trumped the colored people. Mr. Gilmer, the attorney, spoke to Tom, a grown man, as if he was a child, whereas Mayella, a teenager, had been treated with the respect of an elder. Moreover, Reverend Sykes tells Jem, “Now don’t you be so confident. Mr. Jem, I ain’t ever seen any jury decide in favor of a colored man over a white man.” (Doc D) Since the accuser was caucasian, Tom Robinson’s verdict was likely to be guilty due to his race, which addressed the severity of racism in the 1930’s. Another example, was when the narrator noticed that “Mayella looked as if she tried to keep clean.” (Doc A) Even though, the Ewell’s lived in a small, tattered and beaten down house, she still managed to keep clean, which implies that she had control over her hygiene. Many people believe that Mayella was a commanding character because of her race, however, her economic status and gender imply …show more content…
Even though this claim is acceptable and can be supported with documentation, the argument is unable to measure up to the counter because of the authority she lacks through her gender and class outweigh the independence her race provides. Her ethnic group is the only compelling quality she possess because her gender, as most women did not have jobs in this time period, and socioeconomic class cause her to be an outcast in Maycomb. The narrator realized during the trial “that Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world...: white people wouldn’t have anything to do with her because she lived among pigs, Negros wouldn’t have anything to do with her because she was white,” (Doc E). This clearly explicates how although her race made her a powerful character, it also made her defenseless because the African Americans discriminated against her. If she had been born an African American or into a wealthier class, she would have been able to find people to communicate with from their community, which might have prevented her from trying to seduce a colored man. Plus, Tom Robinson stated in his testimony that “I felt right sorry for her...” (Doc E), which shows that she was lacking such an immense amount of leadership, that even a person who was seen as inferior to her, felt sorry for her. Colored people were considered to be equivalent to animals in the

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