Yet another incident against a Negro has taken place in Maycomb County of Alabeama. The young man, Tom Robinson, was accused of physically and sexually assaulting a young woman, Miss Mayella Ewell. Atticus Finch was Mr Robinson’s lawyer, and during the trial he pointed out a few things that were evident and proved Mr Robinson’s innocence. Miss Mayella Ewell claims that Tom Robinson came into her house and suddenly jumped on her – attacked her, grabbed her by the throat, punched her right eye and raped her.
Mr Finch of course did not believe a word by Miss Mayella or the two witnesses, who were her father Mr Bob Ewell and sheriff of the county Mr Heck Tate, of whom Atticus claimed that their “evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. Now there is circumstantial evidence to indicate that Mayella Ewell was beaten savagely by someone who led, almost exclusively, with his left. And Tom Robinson now sits before you, having taken “The Oath” with the only good hand he possesses — his right. Mr Finch was indeed correct – Tom Robinson had lost all use of his left arm since he was a young boy when he got it caught stuck in a cotton gin. Now the only good hand he possesses is his right hand, which makes it very impossible for him to be able to wrap both of his hands around the woman’s neck and punch her in the right eye also. The evidence from both witnesses was contradictory – Mr Ewell and Mr Tate claimed different things about the state of Mayella after the incident as well as the order of which the incident took place.
Mr Tom Robinson claims that the only reason he went in to help Miss Mayella was to be neighborly and help her with any chores that she needed done around the house that required a man’s strength or assistance. He tells us what happened, saying that he went to get something for Mayella off the top of the chifforobe and all of a sudden she grabbed his legs, startling him and making him jump off the chair. She then went and kissed Tom and he tried to run away as fast as he could.
He claims the last thing he heard was Mr Ewell shouting at Mayella “I’ll kill ya! I’ll kill ya! ”. Mayella states her side of the story, nervously and feebly; she it didn’t look as if the honest truth was coming out of her mouth. It seems that towards the end of the trial she got desperate, knowing that the proof that Mr Robinson was unable to perform such acts meant that she and her father had to be lying. In desperation she yells out in court “I got somethin’ to say.
And then I ain’t gonna say no more. He took advantage of me. An’ if you fine, fancy gentlemen ain’t gonna do nothin’ about it, then you’re just a bunch of lousy, yella, stinkin’ cowards, the – the whole bunch of ya, and your fancy airs don’t come to nothin’. Your Ma’am’in’ and your Miss Mayellarin’ – it don’t come to nothin’… ” Mr Tom Robinson was charged guilty and sent to prison, but is this justifiable? What justice is there in putting a innocent negro in jail?
Mr Finch, as the good lawyer that he is, defended Tom in a most knowledgeable and intelligent way, whilst the prosecutor on the Ewell’s side simply threw questions and claims up in the air. Mr Finch says in his closing statement that “the witnesses for the State, with the exception of the sheriff of Maycomb County have presented themselves to you gentlemen, to this court in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption… he evil assumption that all Negroes lie, all Negroes are basically immoral beings, all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women. ” Is this a justifiable way of treating those of a different colored skin? Tom Robinson and men alike are human beings who should be treated equally. Justice most certainly was not served in this case, but we hope to see it as a lesson learnt by the South if their ignorance should not prevail.