How do people in Maycomb think of Bob Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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huntress | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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At best, the people of Maycolm tolerate Bob Ewell. At the end of Scout's first day of school, in which Burris Ewell upsets Miss Caroline, Scout asks Atticus about the Ewells--primarily because she's trying to get Atticus to not send her back, and she knows the Ewell children get away with not going to school. Atticus responds that it's better to bend the rules in some cases. We learn here that "the Ewells had been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations." They didn't work, and they "lived like animals" (33). The townspeople allowed them certain "privileges" because they couldn't force them to change and they didn't want the children to starve, such as allowing Bob Ewell to hunt and trap out of season (34). 

Later, when Bob Ewell is brought to the stand, Scout reminds us of his status in the eyes of the townspeople, adding that "people like the Ewells lived as guests of the country in prosperity as well as in the depths of a depression" (193), which certainly makes them unwelcome. 

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