When Atticus is not afraid of Bob Ewell in chapter 23, what does this tell you about Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird?This is the passage: But when he noticed us dragging around the neighborhood,...

When Atticus is not afraid of Bob Ewell in chapter 23, what does this tell you about Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird?

This is the passage:

But when he noticed us dragging around the neighborhood, not eating, taking little interest in our normal pursuits, Atticus discovered how deeply frightened we were. He tempted Jem with a new football magazine one night; when he saw Jem flip the pages and toss it aside, he said, "What's bothering you, son?"

Jem came to the point: "Mr. Ewell."
"What has happened?"
"Nothing's happened. We're scared for you, and we think you oughta do something about him." (ch 23)

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The children are afraid that Mr. Ewell is going to hurt Atticus, because he threatened him.  Atticus is not afriad, demonstrating that he has empathy.

Atticus does not take Mr. Ewell’s threat seriously, but the children do.  Mr. Ewell felt that Atticus made a fool out of him at the trial.  He is convinced that he can take Atticus down a peg, and the children are convinced he can do it.

Not much frightens Atticus, and he tries to keep his own problems to himself.  When he realizes that the children are afraid of Bob Ewell, he tries to tell them that Bob is all bark and no bite.

The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take. (ch 23)

Atticus is able to do something he has been trying to teach his children to do for most of the book.  He can empathize with Bob Ewell.  He can walk around inside his skin.  This event also foreshadows Ewells attack on the children though.

Sources:

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