On the Humanity of Mayella Ewell
Scout and Jem Finch, Tom Robinson, and Dill Harris: all foreground characters who Â while in
the "spotlight" of the book Â are all deemed equally worthy of compassion, and of understanding.
However, there are others which seem to fade into the woodworkÍ¾ forgotten in the flurry of events
following the climactic Robinson trial. Miss Mayella Ewell, for example Â nineteenÍ¾ stuck in the miasma
of poverty and abuseÍ¾ more than worthy of the compassion of each and every one of the book's 15
million readers around the globe. Her resilience in the face of years of abuse, destitution, and sheer
loneliness are all apparent within her character despite of her last name as a Ewell, or perhaps Â if I may
muse Â because of her last name as a Ewell.
When some people take the time to examine the word loneliness, they might be reminded of
hermits in the woods, reminded of criminals exiled to the very far reaches of the Earth where the tendrils
of the sun struggle still to pierce the shadows of primal jungles. What nobody takes the time to consider
is the great loneliness that one can find within the "company" of others: the kind of lonely that Mayella
Ewell has been almost her whole life. This is the kind of loneliness that causes bitterness to cling like
barnacles to someone's psyche. "'Miss Mayella,' said Atticus, in spite of himself, 'a nineteenÂyearÂold
girl like you must have friends. Who are your friends?' The witness frowned as if puzzled. 'Friends?'"
(Lee, pg 183). Even the simplest of social and developmental necessities are foreign subjects to
Mayella, even enough make her hostile. After the latter quoted segment, it should be noted that she
lashed out: accusing...