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At one point Bob Ewell comments that the "nest [of black families] down yonder" is...

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smecnluvr4eva | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:30 AM via web

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At one point Bob Ewell comments that the "nest [of black families] down yonder" is "dangerous to live around 'sides devaluin' my property."

What is ironic about it? And what is the grain of truth in the statement? This was in chapter 17 and I really need help on it.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:54 AM (Answer #1)

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This quote from Bob Ewell takes place in Chapter 17 during his testimony in the Tom Robinson trial. His comments refer to the location of Maycomb's primary African-American neighborhood, The Quarters, which are situated in close proximity to Ewell's own property. The irony of the statement is that the Ewell property, adjacent to the town dump, is the trashiest (and possibly least valuable) property in the town. The house's

... roof (was) shingled with tin cans hammered flat... the cabin rested uneasily on four irregular lumps of limestone. Its windows were merely open spaces in the walls... the plot of ground around the cabin look(ed) like the playhouse of an insane child.

The yard was covered with discarded items mostly ravaged from the dump.

There is probably nothing truthful about the statement. The peaceful people of The Quarters were not dangerous, and the Ewell property was devalued more from the proximity to the dump than the homes of The Quarters.

 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:55 AM (Answer #2)

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The irony in this statement is pretty clear.  Mr. Ewell is saying that the black people are dangerous to live around, yet it is one black man, Tom Robinson, who is finding that it is dangerous for black people to live around the Ewells.  Tom Robinson is going to die partly because of where he lived.

This is also ironic because it seems unlikely that Ewell's property is really decent enough to be devalued by its proximity to the black people.

As far as truth, I suppose that property near the black neighborhood would be worth less than other property, which is probably why Ewell can afford it.

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