How does Bob Ewell treat the court and the attorneys?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Bob Ewell treats the court and the attorneys with contempt and disrespect.

When he is called to the stand by Mr. Gilmer, Bob begins by addressing his lawyer rudely; when asked if his name is "Mr. Robert Ewell," Bob glibly answers: "That’s m’name, cap’n." After hearing this, Scout says she doesn't understand Mr. Ewell's attitude; since he is Mr. Gilmer's witness, "he had no business being rude to him, of all people."

In his next question, Mr. Gilmer asks Bob Ewell if he is Mayella Ewell's father, and Mr. Ewell also answers disrespectfully: "Well, if I ain’t I can’t do nothing about it now, her ma’s dead." In both instances, Bob Ewell is rude to his own defense lawyer. Judge Taylor puts Bob Ewell in his place, though. He commands Bob to answer Mr. Gilmer's future questions without resorting to "obscene speculations."

It isn't long, however, before Bob Ewell behaves badly again. When questioned about Mayella's screaming, Bob resorts to using a racial slur to slander Tom Robinson's character. He also accuses Tom of being the man who took brutal advantage of Mayella. Because of Bob Ewell's rude language, Judge Taylor has to hammer his gavel for a full five minutes before the courtroom can be brought to order.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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