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Why did Jem not want Scout to tell Atticus about Bob Ewell's comment? Was this a wise...

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carlychic | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 27, 2007 at 11:27 PM via web

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Why did Jem not want Scout to tell Atticus about Bob Ewell's comment? Was this a wise thing to ask her to do?

This answer will be found in chapter 25.

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 27, 2007 at 11:36 PM (Answer #1)

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When Bob Ewell reacts to Tom's death by saying "one down, two more to go," Jem realizes that Ewell's anger has not subsided.  He knows how courageous his father is, but Jem also suspects that Atticus is naive about how deep the feeling for revenge can run.  Jem feels that if Scout tells Atticus about the comment, Atticus might attempt to follow up with the threat and get himself into trouble.

From the standpoint of a 12 year old boy, this is an understandable thing to do.  From the perspective of hindsight, however, it proved foolish.  By telling Atticus, the extent of Ewell's rage might have been realized, and the events of Halloween prevented.

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cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted October 27, 2007 at 11:42 PM (Answer #2)

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The fact that Jem doesn't want Scout to tell Atticus is evidence of him maturing which is a theme of the novel.  Jem is older now and sees things from a different perspective.  He wants to protect Atticus and he takes on a protector role telling Scout that Bob Ewell is just 'hot gas' and won't do anything.  I would not say it was a wise or unwise thing to ask of her.  Atticus was well aware of Bob Ewell and his thoughts and plans - the kids not keeping his comments a secret would not have changed anything.

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