In contrast to the Ewells, what kind of person is Tom Robinson? Explain both from "To Kill a Mockingbird."

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Bob Ewell and Tom Robinson are very different people.  Bob Ewell is scum in every way.  He doesn't work, he's a drunk, he doesn't take care of his kids, in fact, he beats them, he probably sexually abuses them, too.  The only thing he has going for him is his color.  In the time and societal setting of the story, being a white man makes him socially higher than a black man.  During Mayella's testimony, we learn a great deal about the Ewell family and particularly Bob Ewell and none of what we learn is good.  Tom Robinson, on the other hand, is a hard-working conscientious man.  Despite the fact that he has a useless arm, he works hard to care for his family.  Seeing that there is no one to help Mayella Ewell, he even stops and does occasional chores for her.  Tom is honest and upright.  The only thing going against Tom is his color.  That color alone determines where each of these men stands in society is the one thing that they do have in common.


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