A hateful, ignorant racist, Bob Ewell personifies the evil that exists in the Deep South during the 1930s. A man who neglects his family and responsibilities as a father, Bob's uncouth manner is better suited for the swamps that he wanders when drunk than the proper confines of the courtroom. When he is asked the simple question of whether he is "the father of Mayella Ewell," Bob responds in a typical Ewell fashion:
"Well, if I ain't I can't do nothing about it now, her ma's dead..."
Judge Taylor warned Bob about his "obscene speculations," but Bob was far from finished. When it came time to identify Mayella's rapist, Bob could not contain his inherently crude manner.
"Mayella was screamin' fit to beat Jesus...
"... raisin' this holy racket... and I seen--I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella!"
Bob sat "smugly in the witness chair, surveying his handiwork" after this disruptive explanation. Scout observed that
Mr. Ewell reminded me of a deaf-mute. I was sure he had never heard the words Judge Taylor directed at him--his mouth struggled silently with them--but their import registered on his face.
Bob's ignorance provided Atticus--and Jem--with a bit of unexpected humor at the end of his testimony. When Atticus asked Bob if he was "ambidextrous," Bob responded angrily.
"I most positively am not, I can use one hand as good as the other. One hand as good as the other," he added, glaring at the defense table.