1-17-14 Revision: 3-5-14
The fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama that was created by Harper Lee in the story To Kill a Mockingbird, was full of prejudice against blacks. This was the same prejudice that sparked the Civil Rights Movement, which instilled in our minds that all men are indeed created equal. But in the racist town of Maycomb, where a black man was accused of a crime, the prejudice will emerge during the trial. The defendant, Tom Robinson, was being tried for allegedly raping and beating a teenage girl by the name of Mayella. Atticus, the defense attorney, formulated an argument in which he explained it was Bob Ewell, Mayella’s father, who beat her. In his concluding speech, he made several points, which are as follows: the fact that the poor, uneducated, hopeless Mayella tried to cover up the fact that she broke the moral code of society by blaming Tom Robinson; the fact that the assumption that all blacks lie is untrue, and only some blacks lie, just as some whites lie; and the fact that on the street, people are not equal: some people are smarter than others, some are more talented, etc. But in a court of law, all men are equal.
When Mayella was testifying in court, it was unclear whether or not she was telling the truth. She avoided several of Atticus’s questions and seemed as if she was hiding something. For example, in response to Atticus asking if Tom beat her around the face, she said, “No, I don’t recollect,” and then quickly changed her answer to, “I mean, yes, he did hit me!” By the end of the trial, Atticus had figured out what really happened: Bob Ewell was the one who beat her after he found her ‘making sexual advances on Tom Robinson’. In his speech, he expresses his pity for Mayella because she was “the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance”. He goes on to explain that she broke the moral code of society, and tried to put the evidence of her offense away. The evidence was Tom Robinson. So she falsely...