To Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Atticus calls Tom Robinson to the stand. Tom says he often helped Mayella with chores. On this occasion, he says, Mayella threw herself at him. He tried to leave, but was scared to push her out of the way. Suddenly, Bob Ewell showed up and yelled at Mayella, "You goddamn whore, I'll kill ya." Tom ran.
In Tom's portrayal of her, Mayella comes to seem less like a cruel criminal and more like another victim. Tom relates to her as another human, and on those grounds feels sorry for her.
Themes
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Link Deas, stands up in the crowd and says that Tom is a good man. Judge Taylor expels Deas from the courthouse.
Link Deas is also unaffected by racism, perhaps because he knows Tom personally.
Themes
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Mr. Gilmer cross-examines. He calls Tom "boy" in a nasty tone, and tricks Tom into saying he felt sorry for Mayella, which causes a murmur of anger and disgust in the courtroom. Mr. Gilmer asks why Tom ran if he was innocent. Tom says that a black man has to run in any bad situation.
The evidence is in Tom's favor, so Gilmer bases his entire case on racism. He twists Tom's words to make it seem that Tom feels superior to Mayella, something racists can't abide.
Themes
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Dill starts to cry and Scout takes him outside. Dill says he can't stand the way Gilmer was talking to Tom.
As a child, Dill can't accept and condemns the way adults treat each other without dignity.
Themes
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
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