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What were the three threatening things that happened in Maycomb by the middle of...

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

Posted December 2, 2009 at 8:29 AM via web

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What were the three threatening things that happened in Maycomb by the middle of October in To Kill a Mockingbird?

How do the methods of occurrence tell you about the kind of man Bob Ewell is?

Why do Atticus and Aunt Alexandria not intend to go to the Holloween pageant?

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

Posted December 2, 2009 at 8:47 AM (Answer #1)

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Although "things did settle down, after a fashion, as Atticus said they would," October soon became even more tumultuous for some of the citizens of Maycomb.

BOB EWELL'S JOB.  Bob actually gets a job, but then loses it--"the only man I ever heard of who was fired from the WPA for laziness." Of course, Bob blames Atticus for "getting his job."

JUDGE TAYLOR'S PROWLER.  One night while his wife was at church, Judge Taylor hears a noise on his porch. He finds his screen door open and sees a "shadow on the corner of the house." He spends the rest of the evening with "a shotgun across his lap."

BOB STALKS HELEN ROBINSON.  Tom Robinson's wife, Helen, gets a new job working for Link Deas, but every time she tries to walk past the Ewell house on the way home, Ewell "chunked at her." Deas warns Bob, so he stops the chunking, but starts stalking--following behind Helen "crooning foul words." This time Deas threatens to have Bob arrested, and the trouble with Helen stops.

JEM AND SCOUT ARE ATTACKED.  Of course, the most brutal occurrence of violence comes when Bob Ewell attacks Jem and Scout on their way home from the Halloween pageant, only to be intercepted by Boo Radley. Although Jem suffers a badly broken arm, Ewell is knifed to death, and Maycomb becomes a much safer place to live.

Atticus decides not to attend the pageant because he is "all in"--too tired--after a week in Montgomery. Because Alexandra has been decorating the stage all afternoon, she is "too worn out" to attend. The resulting events will forever make them regret their decisions.

As for Bob, his multiple threats against Atticus--after he spits on him outside the post office and remarks that his firing is Finch's fault--it seems logical to assume that he is also the prowler at Judge Taylor's house. In Bob's mind, Judge Taylor allows Atticus to insult and degrade him, and Bob probably wants revenge against the judge as well. Until Bob actually makes his fateful attack against Jem and Scout, it is never certain that he will harm anyone; alcohol seems to propel Bob's emotions, and up until this time, he has not hurt anyone (although we know he was capable of it because of his treatment of Mayella). But revenge apparently haunts Bob, and he is bound and determined to make someone pay.

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