social class

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  • In this scene, Mayela Ewell is on the stand talking about what happened to her on the day she was allegedly beaten and raped by Tom Robinson.
  • How old are you Miss Mayela?
  • So you did, ma'am. Bear with me as I may ask you questions you already answered.
  • I already said I am nineteen!
  • Mayella Ewell gets agitated at Atticus when she thinks Atticus is talking down to her by calling her "Miss Mayela" and "ma'am. She also finds that Atticus is trying to outsmart her by confusing her with his questions. It shows how completely different types of people these two individuals are and how their way of handling themselves clash and do not mix well.
  • Stop makin' fun of me!
  • You just think your'e so smart don'tcha?!
  • Now Miss Mayela how did he attack you? Did you fight back? Why couldn't you get away? Which side of your face did he hit? Are you sure it was Mr.Robinson?
  • Miss Mayela only agrees to continue Atticus's questioning if he abides by her requests. It really shows the vast gap of intelligence between the upper class (Atticus) and the lower class (Mayela) with the complexity of the words they use, which kind of language they are comfortable with and how they word their sentences.
  • I'll only answers your questions if you stop calling me "ma'am" and sayin "Miss Mayela"!
  • I apologize if I have offended you Mayela, that surely was not my intentions.
  • In this part of the story, Tom Robinson is now on trial and Mr.Gilmer is interrogating him and questions his reasoning for why he was helping Mayela Ewell.
  • I swear suh! She just looked like no one else were helpin' her none.
  • I was just tryin' to help her suh.
  • So you was just helping her out for nothin'? That is real nice of you to do that, boy. Why though?
  • Tom Robinson admits he felt sorry for Mayella for not having anyone around to help her with busting up the chiffarobe. Mr.Gilmer is now towering over Tom trying to intimidate him and can not believe what he heard from a black man and is in disbelief. Regardless of the circumstances, black people are at the very bottom of the social class pecking order in this era and Mr. Gilmer reminds the audience of that fact.
  • I just felt sorry for her suh...
  • You felt sorry for her?! You! A negro, feeling sorry for a white woman?!
  • No matter what Tom Robinson says or does Mr. Gilmer does not give him a fair questioning. Every time Tom says his part of the story Mr. Gilmer just belittles him and pushes him down with racism and arrogance. Just because Toms words were coming out of a lower class black mans mouth they were worth nothing in court.
  • She hollered for me to come in and help her bust up the chiffarobe, but then she attacked me so I ran!
  • A white woman attacking a male negro?! That is ridiculous boy!
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