How does Atticus respond when Bob Ewell spits at him and why in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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hilahmarca's profile pic

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It is important to note that along with the spit came a death threat, a barrage of insults, and an invitation to fight.  Atticus, however, refuses to step down to Bob Ewell's level.  He simply wipes the spit out of his eyes and stands there enduring Ewell's insults.  When Ewell realizes he failed to lure Atticus into a fight, he says, "too proud to fight..." to which Atticus responds, "No, too old."

The only comment Atticus oringally has about the altercation is, "I wish Bob Ewell wouldn't chew tobacco."  However, later the kids press him about the incident further because they fear for his life and what their life would be like without him.  He explains that Bob Ewell is not a danger.  He says Ewell meant it at the time when he said he would get Atticus, but he was just expressing his anger because Atticus had taken away the last bit of credibility the man had and, therefore, he had to have a comeback of some kind.  Atticus also said he was happy to let Ewell vent his anger on him if it would spare Mayella Ewell another beating.

mlsldy3's profile pic

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When Bob Ewell spits in the face of Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird, we see the kind of man Atticus is. He is spit on and ugly accusations are thrown at him. Bob Ewell even threatens him, but Atticus doesn't react the way Bob, or most people for that matter, would react. Atticus calmly wipes his face and leaves. Jem and Scout, however, are afraid for their father. They take the threats seriously.

Atticus tells the kids that he would rather take the brunt of Bob's anger, rather than have Mayella have to face another beating from her father. Atticus is always trying to think of other people, and teaches his children a valuable lesson. Atticus didn't realize just how serious the threats from Bob Ewell would turn out to be.

The one thing about Atticus that stands out is the fact that he tries to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. He tries to explain Bob's behavior with respect to all that he had been through and how Atticus had made him feel. The reality is that there is no excuse for Bob Ewell's reaction. There are some people that are just mean, and Bob is one of those people. Luckily for Atticus, Jem and Scout, they all have someone special watching out for them.


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