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What does the switchblade Heck Tate uses have to do with anything?  Did he switch the...

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hollister7 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 3, 2010 at 9:31 AM via web

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What does the switchblade Heck Tate uses have to do with anything?  Did he switch the knife?

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ayh12345 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 4, 2011 at 6:38 AM (Answer #1)

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The kitchen knife could have been Arthur's ("Boo"), and Heck took the switchblade out of Ewell's hands when he found him dead, so that there would only be one weapon at the crime scene, and no evidence that another person had a knife.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 3, 2010 at 10:52 AM (Answer #2)

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In this chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is in costume: she's a ham, so she can't see or use her hands.  So, Scout feels around with her feet.  She pushes around on Bob's body with her feet: she feels a belt buckle, buttons, and "something I could not identify," (the kitchen knife), and then a scratchy face.

So, Heck finds Bob stabbed with a kitchen knife, placed there by Boo.

Later, Heck Tate shows Atticus a switchblade he claims to have taken from a drunk man that night.  That drunk man was Bob Ewell.  He obviously didn't use it against Boo or the kids as there is no blood on it.

Heck's a little slow, sure.  Why he didn't let Bob sleep one off in the town jail is beyond me, but luckily he took the knife before Bob could use it against Jem and Scout.  Bob no doubt had planned to use it in his plan to get revenge on Atticus for defending Tom and embarrassing him in court.

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