Homework Help

In "To Kill a Mockingbird" why does Bob Ewell feel so angry with Atticus?

user profile pic

nauman1315 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 30, 2009 at 11:51 PM via web

dislike 2 like

In "To Kill a Mockingbird" why does Bob Ewell feel so angry with Atticus?

4 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 31, 2009 at 12:15 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 4 like

In the courtroom, Atticus made if fairly clear and obvious to everyone there that Bob was the one who beat his own daughter and blamed it on an innocent black man.  Atticus also, through questions to Mayella, revealed several other unflattering facts about Bob-that he is a drunk who doesn't take care of his children, that he beats his kids, that he can't hold a job, and is a lousy man all-around.  So, even though the jury came out in Bob's favor, everyone in that courtroom really knew the truth about Bob Ewell:  that he was a no-good, low-down coward who had pinned an innocent man for a horrific crime.  His drunken laziness was exposed for the entire town.  Bob Ewell is a man that despite having no qualities that make him worthy of it, is very prideful.  When he gets on the witness stand in court, Lee describes him as a "bantam cock" of a man, which is comparing him to a strutting rooster.  A rooster is mean, prideful, a bully and willing to peck other hen's eyes out to assert his territory.  And that is exactly what Bob is like.

So, imagine you have been accused of beating your own daughter and being a drunkard, in front of the entire town.  It's enough to make anyone angry.  With Bob, it happened to be true, but he's not the type to be humbled and apologize; on the contrary, he reacts defensively.  His pride is injured, and after the trial he feels like he has to save face and reassert his manliness and rightful standing.  That is why he confronts Atticus in the post office, spitting on him, and why he spreads nasty comments about Atticus through the town.  He is wounded and angry, and lashes out.  I hope that helps a bit; good luck!

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 31, 2009 at 12:16 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 1 like

The Ewell family, and in particular Bob, represent the baser instincts of humanity in this novel. Bob, a drunkard and a violent man, creates the rape charge against Tom Robinson to protect his daughter and himself. In Chapter 22 Atticus is threatened by Bob Ewell, who spits in his face, because Bob Ewell doesn't want the truth to be known and wants Tom Robinson to be punished for his supposed "crime". Interestingly, the story is full of characters who defy society's expectations of them and this results in good behavioiur. Bob Ewell shows the opposite extreme - he exists, literally and metaphorically, on the fringes of society and clearly believes he is outside of the law.

user profile pic

cheesepie14 | Student | eNoter

Posted April 2, 2009 at 7:44 AM (Answer #3)

dislike -1 like

Mr. Ewell is angry with Atticus because Atticus has destroyed the last piece of credibility he had (if he had any to begin with)in the courtroom during Robinson's case.

Oh and I just wanted to mention in case anyone had not noticed, if you take away Robert E. Lee Ewell's last name you get the name of the General of the confederate forces' name (american civil war). <3

Anyhow, Mr. Ewell is really not quite so brilliant, so he thinks he should kill Atticus. Oh and by the way, I hope that this helped you!

user profile pic

keith1234 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 2, 2009 at 8:03 AM (Answer #4)

dislike -2 like

atticus embrassed bob by the whole town into thinking that he rape and hurt maylla if you got a question plese contact me at keith1234 or igotafeelin93@yahoo.com

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes