In chapter 27, what three incidents concerning Ewell occur? From these incidents and from Atticus, what do we learn about Bob Ewell?  

Expert Answers

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

In chapter 27, Scout mentions that the first strange thing indirectly involving her father was Bob Ewell acquiring and losing his job from the WPA for laziness. Upon being fired, Bob Ewell blames Atticus for "getting his job."

The second strange incident that occurred took place on a Sunday night at Judge Taylor's home. It is implied that Bob Ewell attempted to sneak into Judge Taylor's home but fled before he could be identified.

The third incident that took place involved Helen Robinson. Bob Ewell began to harass and threaten Helen Robinson on her walk to work. Bob even followed Helen all the way to work one morning "crooning foul words" at her. Mr. Link Deas was forced to defend Helen Robinson and threatened to have Bob arrested for harassing his employee. When Aunt Alexandra insists that Bob Ewell has a running grudge with everyone involved in the case, Atticus demonstrates his tolerant, sympathetic nature by saying,

It might be because he [Bob Ewell] knows in his heart that very few people in Maycomb really believed his and Mayella’s yarns. He thought he’d be a hero, but all he got for his pain was . . . was, okay, we’ll convict this Negro but get back to your dump. He’s had his fling with about everybody now, so he ought to be satisfied. He’ll settle down when the weather changes. (Lee, 255)

In addition to sympathizing with Bob Ewell and attempting to understand his motives for revenge, Atticus also reveals his positive outlook towards all of humanity by believing that Bob Ewell will settle down. Atticus naively has faith that Bob Ewell will get all of the anger out of his system when the weather changes and has hope that he will eventually come to his senses.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Bob Ewell found acquired and lost a job, which led to him finding that his notoriety had been fleeting and he was no longer a local "celebrity".  Someone entered Judge Taylor's home without permission, which scared him.  Link Deas became aware of the Ewell family's (specifically, Bob's) harrassment of Helen Robinson and put an end to it by making Bob aware that it was not a secret and that Deas would charge him with assault if it continued.

The three incidents concerning Bob Ewell in Chapter 27 make it evident that Ewell is still consumed with matters of (false) pride, as he had been during the trial, and that he is a coward.  While Ewell is cowardly, he is also vindictive; this sort of person can be extremely dangerous.  It is evident that Ewell does intend to exact revenge on those he feels wronged him (primarily through embarrassment) and that he will do it through sneaky ways, rather than being "up front" and honest.

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