Kessly M. Frasson
June 18, 2018
In a child’s life, the most important relationship that they have is with their mom and dad. However, if a mother figure is missing, the father-daughter relationship becomes vital for that child to live happily. In particular, two pieces of literature, “To Kill A Mockingbird”, by Harper Lee, and “The Taming of the Shrew”, by William Shakespeare, portray this type of relationship. Although both Mayella Ewell’s and Katharine Minola’s relationships with their fathers leave much to be desired, Mayella’s relationship with Bob Ewell is worse because, unlike Baptista who shows some consideration for Katharine’s well-being, Bob cares only for himself and puts his daughter in tough situations in order to get what he wants. An investigation of selfishness, abuse, and economic status will clearly prove the severity of Mayella’s relationship with her father.
Selfishness in a relationship affects the trust aspect between the two people involved. The effects and consequences of selfishness are portrayed in both The Taming of the Shrew and To Kill a Mockingbird. Specifically, Baptista has put up with Katharine and her attitude his whole life and will have her wed any man to be rid of her. A specific example from the play is when Petruchio tells Baptista that he wants to marry Katharine, Baptista informs him that he must win Katharine’s love first. However, after Petruchio and Katharine meet and he reports back to Baptista, Katharine is anything but in love. Although Katharine tells her father this and shows her displeasure with the idea of marrying Petruchio, Baptista announces the marriage plan. Similarly, Bob puts Mayella in tough situations, such as the trial and raising the children, so that he can drink and avoid his problems. “It took me a slap year to seb’m nickels, but I done it” (Lee 258). This quote shows that Mayella has to work hard by herself to acquire only six nickels in one year. Bob Ewell spends the family’s welfare money on his alcohol and does not pay attention to the hoops that his children have to jump through in order to have a solid meal every once in a while. Mayella’s suffering throughout her entire life because of her father’s close-minded actions and decisions is what shines the light on the harshness of their relationship. Therefore, although both father-daughter relationships in To Kill a Mockingbird and The Taming of the Shrew contain a large amount of selfishness, the negative effects it has on Mayella physically and emotionally are much more extensive and therefore, create a less healthy kinship.
Abuse destroys a relationship no matter how severe it is because instead of showing someone how much you love them, you are hurting them. The results of this behaviour are depicted in The Taming of the Shrew and To Kill a Mockingbird. Specifically, Baptista verbally abuses Katharine and does not stand up for her when she is shamed by society. A specific example is Baptista never once denies that Katharine is a shrew, instead, he warns Petruchio that Katharine is too much for him to handle. Throughout the play, Baptista clearly favours Bianca, and Katharine is able to see it. Baptista has very little faith in Katharine and seems to have given up on her. He fails to support her and have her back. As well as the example from The Taming of the Shrew, Bob physically and sexually abuses Mayella. Specifically, Bob sees Mayella kissing Tom Robinson through the window and gets angry that she associated with a black man in that way. He yells at Mayella and beats her, and then allegedly rapes her. Bob wants there to be no witnesses, so he pins the beating on Tom and takes it to trial. He forces Mayella to lie and blame an innocent man, which eventually leads to Tom’s death in prison. “What did your father see through the window, the crime of rape or the best defense to it?” (Lee 251). This quote shows that after the abuse, Bob is more worried about saving himself than he is about his daughter’s feelings and making her live through the pain again in court. Altogether, Bob’s physically cruel actions against Mayella outshines the verbal abuse that Katharine suffers through and has a larger impact on the victim. Consequently, although both The Taming of the Shrew and To Kill a Mockingbird touch on the subject of abuse between fathers and daughters, Mayella’s experiences and the lack of any type of compassion between her and Bob are undoubtedly more concerning.
The two extremes in economic status, rich or poor, have a major impact on people and how they act. Being rich or poor can affect your opportunities. These two ways of life and their effects are both presented in The Taming of the Shrew and To Kill a Mockingbird, yet evidence shows that one situation is substantially worse. An example of this in The Taming of the Shrew is Baptista made sure that he provided Katharine with everything she needed and any other luxuries he could afford. Specifically, Baptista made sure that anyone that offered to marry Katharine was wealthy and could support her wants and needs financially. However, sometimes this clouded his judgment and wealth in a marriage became more important than love and compassion. In contrast, Bob spends all of the family’s welfare money on his alcohol and put no effort into his job, resulting in him being fired. ” ‘It’s against the law, all right,’ said my father, ‘and it’s certainly bad, but when a man spends his relief checks on green whiskey his children have a way of crying from hunger pains. I don’t know of any landowner around here who begrudges those children any game their father can hit’ ” (Lee 41). all Bob does not make attending school a priority and consequently, Mayella has no friends. Mayella is left home alone every day with her younger siblings and has to take care of them while Bob is off somewhere drinking. Mayella and her family live in extreme poverty because her father does not value other people and their well-being. This majorly affects Mayella’s relationship with Bob because there is no sense of reliability or respect between them. Thus, although Baptista puts wealth and his own happiness before his daughter’s feelings, he still wants her to grow up with all the luxuries as possible. Meanwhile, Bob clearly does not think about what effects his behaviour has on his daughter. Therefore, the difference in financial status unquestionably proves to influence the father-daughter relationships portrayed in these two pieces of literature.
If the right amount of love and effort is not put into a relationship between two people, there is a very high chance that one, or even both of the people involved will not be happy. Particularly, Baptista Minola is a father who wants the best for his daughter, yet sometimes wealth and his own wants and needs cloud his judgment. Bob Ewell is the type of father that has never proved that he wants to be one, yet his mistakes have resulted in his kids growing up moderately strong. Although both relationships are missing key components, Mayella’s relationship with Bob is nearly non-existent. After a close examination of various pieces of the relationships in To Kill a Mockingbird and The Taming of the Shrew, it has been proven that selfishness, economic status, and abuse create major problems for everyone involved. While neither Baptista or Katharine are fairly happy, any type of kinship with Mayella and Bob is unsubstantial. Altogether, with those facts pointed out and discussed, it is confirmed that Mayella does, in fact, have a worse relationship with Bob than Katharine does with Baptista.