Could the reader predict that Jem fought Bob Ewell at the end of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and if so where is it located in the text?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the reader could predict an attack from Bob Ewell after reading Chapter 27, but not that Jem would fight him. At the beginning of Chapter 27, Scout mentions three things that Bob Ewell does that indirectly concerns their family. Bob Ewell loses his job, attempts to break into Judge Taylor's house, and threatens Helen Robinson. Harper Lee uses these incidents to foreshadow his attack. At the end of Chapter 27, Scout practices her part in the Maycomb Pageant and says, "After that, it didn't matter whether we went or not. Jem said he would take me. Thus began our longest journey together." (Lee 340) The reader can predict that something dramatic will happen that involves Jem and Scout. The fact that Scout mentions that Jem would "take her," and they would embark on the journey "together" suggests that Jem could possibly take on a leading role in the climax of the novel. Nowhere in the text does it directly mention or foreshadow Jem fighting Bob Ewell. Lee uses imagery in the text to set the mood of the spooky, dark Haloween night and the reader can sense that something ominous will happen. Bob's attack is rather sudden and Jem yells for Scout to run. Even during the attack scene, it is not obvious to the reader that Jem is fighting Bob Ewell. Harper Lee uses Scout's confused state of mind to leave the reader wondering what actually happened in the midst of the attack. Later on in the novel, Lee reveals that Boo Radley came to the defense of the children and stabbed Bob Ewell while Jem was injured.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial