Theme Of Mayella Ewell In To Kill A Mockingbird

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In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, many of the main themes are further developed by analyzing the character of Mayella Ewell. These three themes are family values, inequality, and moral education. Harper Lee used these themes to explain how hard times were in the 1930’s, and used Mayella Ewell to show this.
One of the themes that Mayella represents is the theme of family values. However, Mayella actually has little to no values in her life. She is a fragile girl from a crippled family, so she never even had the opportunity to experience what a family with morals is like. When her mother died, Mayella was mentally on her own, and had no one in her life that genuinely cares about her; Scout once said, “She is lonelier than Boo Radley,”
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However, Mayella Ewell doesn’t deserve to be treated with kindness because she is insolent and unethical. However, she works on keeping herself clean and gardens as a hobby, but the flowers she tends to will never be anything the beautiful ones that Maudie keeps. Miss Maudie is a kind, well rounded woman that has a beautiful garden, and is everything that Mayella wishes to be. Women are treated one way, as ladies, or another, as not, and Jem even once told Scout to “... just hold your head high and be a gentleman.” (Lee 135). Mayella has worked to be a respectable woman, but many things hold her back: her dad, her looks, and her personality. Being a woman and living the way she does, Mayella’s life is ignoble, but the way she treats people makes her deserve the life she has been given. For example, Mayella forces a man to lie, which results in her flaws come around to hurt her, and her to not qualify for a chance to be respected. During Tom’s trial, Tom said, “...scared I’d hafta face up to what I didn’t do.” (page 265), and that’s because Mayella indirectly took an innocent man’s life, which makes her personality even more unattractive. Although women are treated very unequally, some women, like Mayella, don’t deserve to be treated…show more content…
She only went to school for a few years because she had to take care of her family, so Mayella’s opportunity to learn the proper ways of a woman vanished. She never learned moral values like telling the truth, and was never treated with respect. When she was being called “ma’am” in court, she accused Atticus of making fun of her, but if she stayed in school she would have known that is how to properly address others. The flowers in Mayella’s garden symbolize how she needs beauty in her ugly life, and how caring is a positive thing, but sometimes no matter how hard you try hard, the things you care about will still die (like her relationship with Tom Robinson). Mayella grew up with an abusive father, so she never learns how actions can have consequences. She doesn’t know how to see the harm in what she does, and in the book it said, “Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed,” (page 323). Mayella destroyed one of the only things she cared about, and that’s because she didn’t learn the value of the truth.
Mayella Ewell’s life is made up of many lousy things which all come together and shape her as the erroneous girl that she is. She is uneducated, has no values, and because of this, doesn’t deserve to be treated with equality. All of these things are part of the themes that make up the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, and
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