“She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that our society is unspeakable: She kissed a black man. ” (272) this quote from chapter 20 just shows how racist and prejudiced the town Maycomb was. The society just cannot accept that a white woman likes a black man. The words illustrate a major theme in the novel that of the existence of social inequality. In my written evaluation I plan to discuss a main character and at least one of the novels central themes. The main events of “to kill a mockingbird” consist of a lawyer named Atticus Finch defending a black man who has been accused of the rape of Mayella Ewell.
It’s plenty obvious the defendant didn’t do it. Through the eyes and ears of young Jem and Scout we can see how racism affected lives in Alabama in the 1930’s. Jem, Scout, and dill are fascinated by their neighbor Boo Radley whom only a few people have seen in years. The children fill their heads up he keeps himself hidden. When Atticus goes to court and humiliates Bob Ewell who is the father of the alleged rape victim, and he seeks revenge. He does this by attacking the helpless Scout and Jem as they return from a school pageant. To our surprise Boo emerges from his house and stabs Bob to death to save the children lives. 351) The first character I am going to discuss is Mayella Ewell. She is supposed to be a victim of rape but as you read the novel you can see she is a victim of poverty and ignorance also neglect by her father Bob Ewell.
The reason she could have never admitted her liking for Tom Robinson is because it would have never been accepted in her society. She’s lonely and gets no love or affection from anyone, she has no friends, and no one to talk to. A girl her age should be out socializing. However poverty and ignorance has trapped her at home. This extract gives us an image on how she is when we first see her in the court room. A young girl walked to the witness stand as she raised her hands and swore that the evidence she gave us was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth help her god, she seemed somehow fragile looking, but when she sat facing us in the witness chair she became what she was, a thick bodied girl accustomed to strenuous labor”. (239) this is when we first meet Mayella. We get the impression that she is fragile and shy, but when she swears that she is telling the truth any ounce of sympathy that I had for her disappeared: she is blatantly lying just to stop it from being revealed that she tried to seduce Tom.
Harper Lee uses dialogue to reveal Mayella’s character to us in more detail. “I got something to say an ‘then I aint gonna say no more. That nigger yonder took advantage of me, an ‘if you fine fancy gentlemen don’t want to do nothing about it then you’re all stinking yellow belly cowards”. (251) these words were a desperate outcry Mayella. One of the main themes in “To Kill a Mockingbird” is the coexistence in good and evil. Scout and Jem learn a vast amount in the course of the novel. Jem is more affected by the awareness of evil and understands his consequences.
For example he just couldn’t come to terms that even though the evidence of Tom not raping Mayella was very strong and obviously showed that he was innocent he still got a guilty sentence. In conclusion I really enjoyed the novel and thought it showed how severe racism was and how badly it affected lives of the innocent. Atticus is right when he uses the term Maycomb’s “usual disease” (88). But that in my mind is how I read the novel. Racism and prejudiced covered the whole town and they were totally unaware of how ignorant and wrong their lives were.