Atticus says, “Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of...

Atticus says, “Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. 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. He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children. You understand?” (292). How does his explanation relate to the Golden Rule?

 

 

 

Expert Answers
lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Golden rule is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In To Kill a Mocking Bird, Atticus practices the Golden Rule when he does not retaliate when Bob Ewell spits in his face. During the trial Bob Ewell verbally attacks Atticus for exposing Ewell’s cruelty to his own children. Atticus shreds Bob Ewell's credibility and Ewell threatens Atticus' life. Atticus does not retaliate when threatened. Atticus treats Bob Ewell the way he would want to be treated. Atticus is a perfect example of a strong person who has self-control. He exhibits courage and good character by saying nothing in return to Ewell's threatening comments. Atticus cares more about Ewell's children than Bob Ewell does himself. He would rather Ewell take out his anger on himself rather than taking it out on Mayella. Atticus is a prime example of a decent gentleman who does unto Ewell as he would have Ewell do unto him. Through his example of good character even when threatened, Atticus teaches his own children to be good citizens as he treats others the way he would want to be treated. Scout and Jem watch and learn and become honorable people in the small southern community. Atticus is an excellent parent who has integrity and and decency in all of his actions whether public or private.   

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Golden Rule is the Biblical principle regarding the proper way to treat one another. It states, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In Chapter 23, Jem expresses his concerns about Bob Ewell harming Atticus, and Atticus responds by challenging Jem to stand in Bob Ewell's shoes for a minute. Atticus tells Jem that he doesn't blame Bob for his actions and is willing to allow Bob to take his anger out on him if it means saving Mayella one extra beating. Atticus's tolerant demeanor and willingness not to blame Bob for his reaction embodies the Golden Rule. Instead of judging Bob Ewell and criticizing him for his rude behavior, Atticus treats Bob the way he would want to be treated, which is without judgment or hard feelings. Atticus does not harbor hatred towards Bob after he spits in his face, but instead views the situation from Bob's point of view and sympathizes with him. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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