What do you think of Atticus's reaction to Bob Ewell's challenge in Chapter 23 of To Kill a Mockingbird? Should he have ignored Bob, retaliated or done something else?
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Atticus is a true Southern gentleman who attempts to teach his children by the example he personally sets. He has already lectured Scout about the futility of using her fists to settle arguments, so it would have gone against his character and teachings had Atticus decided to accept Bob Ewell's challenge to fight. Atticus was not about to lower himself to Bob's level as "the disgrace of Maycomb," especially in a public place and in front of women. Atticus knew that Bob was probably drunk and that it was the liquor that gave him the courage to face Atticus in the first place. It was an easy decision for Atticus to ignore Bob's threat, and he was able to maintain his dry sense of humor even under such circumstances, responding to Bob's question of whether he was "Too proud to fight" with the answer of
"No, too old..."
I think that Atticus' response to the threat is completely normal for him and any other response would have been out of character for him. However perhaps his response made Bob even more mad, because he was unable to get a reaction out of Atticus.
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