In chapter 27 of To Kill a Mockingbird, why, according to Atticus, does Bob Ewell bear a grudge? Which people does Ewell see as his enemies and why?

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In chapter 27 , Atticus mentions that the reason Bob Ewell holds a grudge against him is because Bob thought that the entire community would believe his testimony and view him as a hero. However, Atticus exposed Bob Ewell as an ignorant liar and the entire community went back to...

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In chapter 27, Atticus mentions that the reason Bob Ewell holds a grudge against him is because Bob thought that the entire community would believe his testimony and view him as a hero. However, Atticus exposed Bob Ewell as an ignorant liar and the entire community went back to viewing him with contempt, like they always did. Bob views everybody associated with or supportive of Atticus Finch to be his enemies, which includes Judge Taylor, Link Deas, Helen Robinson, and even Atticus's own children.

In the following chapter, Bob attempts to get revenge on Judge Taylor and Helen Robinson by causing minor disturbances. Bob initially threatens Helen Robinson by cursing at her and following Helen on her walk to work. Bob Ewell also attempts to sneak into Judge Taylor's home but abandons his mission after the judge hears something at his back door. Later on in the novel, Bob attempts to get revenge on Atticus by murdering his children. Fortunately, Boo Radley stops Bob before he fatally wounds Jem and Scout

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Bob Ewell hates Atticus for making him look like a fool on the witness stand during the trial of Tom Robinson. Atticus told Jem,

"I destroyed his last shred of credibility at the trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback... He had to take it out on somebody, and I'd rather it be me..."

Although Robinson was found guilty, Ewell did nothing to win friends or improve his own image or community standing. Addtionally, Ewell later blamed Atticus for getting him fired from his government job with the WPA.

Ewell views as his enemies

  • Atticus, as seen by his spitting tobacco in his face and vowing to "get him if it took the rest of life."
  • Judge Taylor, who after Ewell's racial slur on the stand, spent the rest of the time "daring him to make a false move. After the trial, the judge nearly caught Bob prowling on his porch.
  • Helen Robinson, who Bob stalked her, "crooning foul words" as she passed his house.
  • Link Deas, who defended Helen (and Tom in court) and threatened to have Ewell arrested for assault (for harassing Helen).
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According to Aunt Alexandra, Bob Ewell bears "a permanent running grudge against everybody connected with (the Tom Robinson) case".  Atticus agrees with Alexandra's assessment.

Bob Ewell sees the world at large as his enemies, and he specifically hates everyone connected to the case.  He had thought that winning the case would bring him fame and respectability, but it did not.  Tom Robinson was convicted only because the people could not overcome their deeply ingrained prejudices against blacks to uphold justice.  In reality, "very few people in Maycomb really believed (Bob Ewell's) and Mayella's yarns".  Instead of being a hero after the trial as he had hoped, Bob Ewell came out looking like a fool.

Bob Ewell is the type of person who never takes responsibility for anything.  After the trial, he did manage to get a job, but lost it after only a few days because of laziness.  He then blamed Atticus for "getting" his job, and began to undertake small acts of intimidation against individuals who were involved in the case to express his bitterness.  He cut the screen on Judge Taylor's porch one night when the old man was home alone, and terrorized Helen Robinson, Tom's widow, as she walked to work each day. 

Bob Ewell is a degenerate, good-for-nothing character who will never take responsibility for his own actions, and the fact that he won the trial did nothing to change that in the eyes of the townspeople.  Instead of examining his own behavior, Ewell blames his situation on everyone else, looking at them as his "enemies" (Chapter 27). 

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Bob Ewell resents Judge Tayor (and Atticus) for simply doing the job to investigate the case. Of course, what he's really afraid of is getting found out for having beaten up his own daughter, then blaming Tom Robinson for it.

He also bears a grudge against Link Deas, who has hired Tom Robinson's wife Helen to work for him. Link protects Helen and warns Ewell to not give her any more trouble, or he will find himself arrested on harassment charges.

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