In "To Kill a Mockingbird" describe Bob Ewell's meeting with Atticus at the post office.

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of chapter 23, Scout elaborates on Miss Stephanie's story regarding Atticus's run-in with Bob Ewell at the post office. According to Miss Stephanie, Atticus was leaving the post office when he ran into Bob Ewell, who began to curse and threatened to kill him. Miss Stephanie then mentions how Bob Ewell spat in Atticus's face and challenged him to a fight.

Instead of retaliating, Atticus didn't bat an eye and simply wiped the spit from his face. When Bob Ewell asked Atticus if he was too proud to fight, Atticus responded by saying, "No, too old," before he calmly walked away (221). Atticus's reaction to Bob Ewell's disrespectful, controversial personality demonstrates his tolerant, peaceful demeanor.

Later on in the chapter, Atticus shares another lesson on perspective with his children by challenging them to stand in Bob Ewell's shoes in order to properly analyze his actions and emotions. Unfortunately, Atticus makes the mistake of thinking Bob Ewell got all of the anger out of his system by spitting in his face at the post office.

mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In a nutshell, at the post office, Bob Ewell "approached [Atticus], cursed him, spat on him, and threatened to kill him."  Atticus didn't retaliate; he simply "took out his handkerchief and wiped his face and stood there and let Mr. Ewell call him names."  Atticus's reaction was very calm, considering, which just made Bob more angry.  So, he asked, "Too proud to fight, you nigger-lovin' bastard?"  Atticus responded in his usual classic style by saying, "No, too old," and walked away.

The story spreads through the town like wildfire, and Miss Stephanie Crawford is the main spreader; she is highly amused by Atticus's wry response to Bob, but Scout says of the matter, "Jem and I didn't think it entertaining."  They were worried about the threats, and stressed that Bob would act on them.  Atticus doesn't seem worried though.  His response to the entire thing was, "I wish Bob Ewell wouldn't chew tobacco," referring to the nasty spit that must have ended up on his face.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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