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Why does Bob Ewell feel so angry with Atticus? Do you think his threat is a real one,...

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mackingmark | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 21, 2008 at 12:25 AM via web

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Why does Bob Ewell feel so angry with Atticus? Do you think his threat is a real one, and how might he try to "get" Atticus?

This question can be found in chapter 22.

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

Posted November 21, 2008 at 12:31 AM (Answer #1)

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Bob Ewell feels threatened by Atticus and anyone else who may judge his way of life.  He abuses his children and "uses" Mayella to satisfy him as a wife should...this is not the way to treat your daughter.

Bob Ewell is the typical "have not" in society.  He is not proud of who he is or what he does, but he makes no effort to change his situation.  He only sits back and stews at everyone else whom Bob sees as having a good life.  He is paranoid that everyone is judging him and looking down on him.  He is jealous of everyone who does work hard to have a decent life.  Bob Ewell's family lives on the edge of the Black community.  He is an outcast from the whites, but still considers himself better than the blacks.

He takes his frustration out on Tom Robinson since Tom, even though he is black and considered lower in society than the Ewells, has a better sense of judgment and is just a better person than Bob is. 

Bob Ewell will strike at Atticus' weakness--his children. 

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parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted November 21, 2008 at 12:33 AM (Answer #2)

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Bob Ewell is afraid that Atticus Finch will discover - and reveal - the truth. He has accused an innocent black man of rape and assault to cover for himself! He needs an excuse to account for Mayella's bruises, and so Tom Robinson's "rape" gives him the alibi he needs.

Bob Ewell also comes from the "poor white" social caste, the one just above the Negroes themselves. Racial discrimination is the strongest here since these disfavoured people need to valorize their "superiority."

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