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In "To Kill a Mockingbird," what are the similarities and differences between...

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tasros | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 23, 2008 at 11:26 PM via web

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In "To Kill a Mockingbird," what are the similarities and differences between Atticus Finch and Bob Ewell?

E.g.: atticus-righteous and bob-immoral

Similarity- Both discriminated by the community for one reason or another.

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 24, 2008 at 12:18 AM (Answer #1)

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The main ways that Bob and Atticus are similar are that they are both Southern men, both locally raised, both known in the community, and both defined in part by their families. Both seek to speak for those families. Both are involved in Mayella's fate, and in Scout's (their daughters).The ways that they differ are numerous. They differ in ethics, work habits, education, position in community, manners, level and type of honor, attitudes towards race, etc.

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jlcannad | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted April 24, 2008 at 1:41 AM (Answer #2)

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I would say the most important way they are alike is that they both have to deal with people who clearly hate them.  In Atticus' case, many people in Maycomb think he's a "nigger-lover" and are very vocal about sharing that opinion.  In Bob Ewell's case, people think he's white trash and I think that even he knows that they secretly consider him below the hard-working blacks.  I think that's why he hates blacks so much.

But that similarity leads to the most important difference.  When Atticus feels like the world has turned against him, he continues to do the right thing, even when it's him against a mob and he believes he is going to lose.  He doesn't scramble after some illusion of power.  But Bob Ewell is determined to prove his "worthy" by proving that he has power over others.  He dominates his daughter (and possibly rapes her, which is a clear power play).  He accuses Tom Robinson and essentially gets him killed.  He attacks Jem and Scout, two children who are no match for a grown man.  He wants power, and he abuses others to feel more powerful. 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 24, 2008 at 3:01 AM (Answer #3)

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Both of these men are rearing children without wives/mothers, also.

Bob Ewell is discriminated against because he is a drunk and does not work a steady job in order to provide for his family.  He also mistreats and abuses Mayella.  The Ewells are low class white people who are discriminated against because they are beneath everyone in town with the exception of the black population.  The Ewells are only above the black community because they are white.  There is no work ethic or honor involved in the judgement.

Atticus is discriminated against based on his representation of Tom Robinson  in the trial.  In hindsight, everyone knows Atticus is chosen because he will do a good job for Tom, an innocent and good man, who will be found guilty anyway solely because he is black.

Sources:

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princessme900 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 22, 2009 at 6:26 AM (Answer #4)

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They are both very different in multiple ways, such as:

1. manners

2. ways of speaking

3. brains

4. they never get laid.

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