"Red Geraniums": On The Humanity Of Mayella Ewell

1952 words - 8 pages

"Red Geraniums":
On the Humanity of Mayella Ewell
Scout and Jem Finch, Tom Robinson, and Dill Harris: all foreground characters who ­ while in
the "spotlight" of the book ­ are all deemed equally worthy of compassion, and of understanding.
However, there are others which seem to fade into the woodwork; forgotten in the flurry of events
following the climactic Robinson trial. Miss Mayella Ewell, for example ­ nineteen; stuck in the miasma
of poverty and abuse; 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 ­ if I may
muse ­ 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 nineteen­year­old
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 Atticus of making fun of her by simply suggesting that she have such a thing of
friends. Like her kin, she doesn't have much of an idea of what companionship is ­ romantic, platonic,
or otherwise. On the other hand, (much unlike her kin) Mayella seems to follow an anomalous path of

behaviour that the rest of her unfortunately circumstanced family does not: she tries. "'Yes, suh. I felt
right sorry for her, she seemed to try more'n the rest of 'em­'" (Lee, pg 197). Noted both by Scout and
Tom Robinson, it would seem that Mayella had an acute ­ yet masked ­ want for relationships: "...it
came to me that Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world." (Lee, pg 191).
Forged amid sociopathic beliefs and tendencies, she certainly could be better at reaching out, but
perhaps it's the little things in her character that really show who she is. For example, her washing.
While she says that, "...it was everybody for himself as far as keeping clean went: if you wanted to wash
you hauled for own water…" (Lee, pg 183), Scout queries that it would seem Mayella at least
attempted to stay washed, "Mayella looked as if she tried to keep clean, and I was reminded of the row
of red...

Find Another Essay On "Red Geraniums": On the Humanity of Mayella Ewell

All Quiet on the Western Front. Theme of Humanity

1408 words - 6 pages emphasized and brought to light. Among those themes are deception, camaraderie, and propaganda, but the prevailing theme seems to be maintaining one's humanity. The theme of humanity is readily prevalent throughout the novel, and can be tied in with the loss of innocence, fear, and ultimately the emergence of courage. During All Quiet on the Western Front, the main character Paul who is only nineteen, is faced with the atrocities of war which take a toll

Freedom of Humanity Depends on the Connection with Nature

916 words - 4 pages “The Bear” is a book written in 1942 by William Faulkner that deals with the life of an ancient bear named Old Ben. Old Ben affects the lives of most hunters that know him, and most importantly it he has a great influence on Ike and the wilderness. “The Bear” is not only about the life of Old Ben, but it is also about the wilderness, racism, possession of land, and the meaning of humanity. The interpretation of wilderness Faulkner present in his

The Circuits of Humanity

1250 words - 5 pages Humanity has come a long way in terms of technology and shows no sign of halting the advancement anytime soon. Society now has phones with the same functions as computers and cars that can run on electricity. However, developing artificial intelligence with a human thought process has become a real ethical issue as technology grows. People argue that developing such intelligence would benefit society as it would be able to handle jobs where it

The Humanity of Achilles

1170 words - 5 pages of Achilles as an epic hero. As readers look closely at Achilles, he reveals different sides of himself as the epic poem develops. Representing the struggle between his dominant, selfish, and Dionysian nature as an epic hero and his hidden empathetic Apollonian core, Achilles reveals the mythos of the Iliad which states that war degrades mankind into objects and only the pursuit of Apollonian regard for others renews their humanity. Early on in

The Prevalence of Humanity

1658 words - 7 pages linking back to the defects of human nature is also reflected on in Animal Farm by George Orwell and Lord of the Flies by William Golding, reaching the conclusion that humanity will ultimately prevail, but only if it chooses to act against the forces of injustice. Both the initial influences in the societies of Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies (Snowball and Ralph respectively) have striking similarities. Both of these leaders are more concerned

Racism, A Scar on the Face of Humanity

2037 words - 8 pages Racism- A Scar on the Face of HumanityRacism took roots in American society when the first Europeans landed on this soil. Discrimination and segregation have long been condemned by many individuals, but it took about 200 years for American government to grant equal rights to every citizen, after the Civil Rights movement. The law for equality was passed in 1964, but its implementation is not yet complete. Racism can be observed in our lives in

The Essence of Humanity

686 words - 3 pages The Essence of Humanity What makes us human? What underlying characteristic differentiates humans from animals or Gods? Where does the essence of humanity lie? Initially the answer may seem simple. One might say when comparing animals to humans that they are cruder than humans; they live their life by instinct, they don't love, they don't strive to educate themselves and each other - their overriding goal is to survive and make it

Ecstasy: The Effects on Humanity

958 words - 4 pages like many other drugs', they will be foul.Ecstasy, again compared to many other drugs, is a substance that evidently somehow changes the brain's chemical balances, creating such an imbalance that would be perceived as being one ten times stronger than that of simply being happy from an every-day source of joy like listening to music or hearing a joke. The emotional impacts it has on its users are most generally described as that of completely

"The Impact of Technology on Humanity" Explains the impact of technology on our lives. (781 words)

782 words - 3 pages The Impact of Technology on HumanityDo you remember the good old days when people used to light up a fire to warm the oven, when A-tracks were hugely popular and when cars were run on carbureted engines? I sure don't; I wasn't alive for those wonderful times. Technology advances take place every day in the world. It can make our lives easier, spare us some extra time, provide us with new and innovative products/services, and also annoy the hell

Evolution: The Destruction of Humanity?

1815 words - 7 pages who were lucky enough to evolve into intelligent beings. Regardless of whether one believes in the Theory of Evolution, its controversy has affected our view of the meaning of life without the greatness of our humanity. Charles Darwin, 1809-1882, was the author of On the Origin of Species. In this first book on the theory of evolution Darwin examined and explained how the different species of animals were formed (Darwin Bio ).For instance, he

Sociology: The Study of Humanity

1842 words - 7 pages However new you are to sociology it is probable that you have an idea, however vague and general, regarding what sociology is supposed to be about. It may be that you have an idea that sociology is 'about' people. And you would be right to think so. We might start then by noting that sociology is one of the human sciences and as such it is a subject to be distinguished from the so-called 'physical sciences'. Sociology is the study of humanity

Similar Essays

Did Baldy Ewell Lose The Battle Of Gettysburg

1706 words - 7 pages steam in their conquest for freedom and unity. Aside from the battle of Antietam, Gettysburg is the most lengthy and costly battle of the Civil War. Who lost the battle of Gettysburg? Richard "Baldy" Ewell, an egotistical Confederate general may be to blame for the severe Confederate loss at Gettysburg and maybe for loosing the entire war. What factors attributed to Baldy's irreversible decisions?The battle of Gettysburg started because a large

The Effect Of Red On Performance Attainment

1489 words - 6 pages The teacher passes back the last graded papers, and the students wait patiently for their grades. A student on the first row is the first to receive his paper. As he looks at his paper, the smile disappears from his face, on his paper there are a lot of red pen marks. It does not matter if the comments are positive or negative, all he can focus is on is the red pen markings. Thoughts of failure invade his mind as he analyzes his mistakes. Red

The Value Of Humanity Essay

1777 words - 7 pages therefore morale. With every negative experience, especially on a grand scale, such as atrocities like crimes against humanity, the numbers go down and decrease hope. It is quite simple, in fact. In order to have a happy world, these numbers should stay positive. This relates to a quote on page 168 of First They Killed My Father. Loung Ung says,“I need the new memories that make me angry to replace the old ones that make me sad. My rage makes me

The Fate Of Humanity Essay

1754 words - 8 pages one billion years, the sun will turn into a red giant, increasing massively in size and heat. Although former ice planets farther from the sun will form water needed for life, the earth will not be lucky enough to survive, burning up in the edge of the red giant before it even reaches full size. These are only two of millions of possible natural catastrophes that have the potential to end humanity. Natural calamities will eventually be the end of