Bob Ewell Quotes

I need ten quotes said by and about the character Bob Ewell in To Kill A Mockingbird.

Can you please include the chapter numbers too? That would be awesome!

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While Jem, Dill, and Scout first believe Boo Radley to be the sinister force in their lives, it is Bob Ewell who is the villain of the tale of children who learn much about life in To Kill a Mockingbird.

It is Bob Ewell's son Burris to whom Scout is first introduced, and she has never seen a dirtier boy. When a disgruntled Scout returns home from her first day of school and tells him she does not want to go back, Atticus tells her she must continue to attend school because there is a law. Scout refutes his statement, informing her father that Burris Ewell only comes the first day. She adds, "I don't see why I have to when he doesn't." Atticus then tells his daughter that "the Ewells had been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations. None of them had done an honest day's work in his recollection" (Ch.4).

Scout sees Robert E. Lee Ewell for the first time in the courtroom. The adult narrator Scout comments, "All the little man on the witness stand had that made him any better than his nearest neighbors [His neighbors are the "small Negro settlement some five hundred yards beyond the Ewells'"] was that if scrubbed with lye soap in very hot water, his skin was white" (Ch.17). As if to confirm this statement about Mr. Ewell's base nature, Bob Ewell responds to prosecutor Mr. Gilmer's question, "Are you the father of Mayella Ewell?" by saying, "Well, if I ain't I can't do nothing about it now, her ma's dead" (Ch.17). Further, it becomes obvious that Mr. Ewell does not know how not to be crude. When asked what happened on the evening of November 21st, Ewell says, "' . . . I was comin' in from the woods with a load o'kindlin,' and just as I got to the fence, I heard Mayella screamin' like a stuck hog inside the house.'" Judge Taylor merely looks at Ewell for he knows that Ewell has no "evil intentions in saying this" (Ch.17); he is simply backward and ignorant. Far worse than this comment is Ewell's lie and demeaning remark about Tom Robinson as he continues the offensive hog figure of speech, "'I seen that black n----r yonder ruttin' on my Mayella'" (Ch.17) These remarks serve the reprehensible Ewell because he has changed the previously "happy picnickers" into a "tense, murmuring crowd" (Ch.17).

When Atticus cross-examines Bob Ewell, he asks why Ewell did not send for a physician. "Didn't you think she should have had a doctor, immediately?" Atticus asks. "The witness [Ewell] said he never thought of it, he had never called a doctor to any of his'n in his life, and if he had it would have cost him five dollars" (Ch.17).

As the questioning continues, Bob Ewell becomes emboldened as "he thought Atticus an easy match" (Ch.17). Even when Atticus asks about Mayella's blackened right eye, Ewell suspects nothing. (Ch.17) Further, Atticus asks him more simple questions about where Mayella's bruises were and if he can read and write. Atticus does this in order to establish certain facts that may incriminate Mr. Ewell. One of these facts is that Bob Ewell is left-handed. When Atticus asks this witness to sign his name, Ewell does not suspect anything and holds the pen in his left hand. However, as Judge Taylor, Mr. Gilmer, and Atticus all look at him intently, Bob Ewell realizes that something has happened that does not bode well for his testimony. However, he further demonstrates his ignorance when Mr. Gilmer asks him if he is ambidextrous. Not knowing the meaning of the word, Ewell replies, "I most positively am not, I can use one hand good as the other. One hand good as the other," while glaring at the table where Atticus sits. (Ch.17) It is not until he sees that Tom Robinson has a withered left arm and could never have inflicted the bruises that Mayella suffered that Bob Ewell understands how Atticus has cleverly discredited his testimony. 

Because Atticus has proven to the townspeople that Bob Ewell has falsified his testimony on the witness stand, and it was he who inflicted the bruises on Mayella, Ewell hates Mr. Finch and vows revenge. One day in town as Atticus leaves the post office, Bob Ewell curses him, spits tobacco in his face, and threatens to kill him. (Ch.23) He also bears grudges against the others who he thinks have belittled him in some way. Ewell enters Judge Taylor's house one night, and he follows Helen Robinson on her way to Mr. Link Deas's house, "crooning foul words"(Ch.27). The reprehensible Ewell also blames Atticus for his being fired by the WPA, and he tries to kill his children. (Ch.29)

amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are a few quotes. In Chapter 3 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus tells Scout that the Ewells have been a disgrace in Maycomb for generations. He also explains why he doesn't mind that Bob breaks the law by hunting out of season. 

“It’s against the law, all right,” said my father, “and it’s certainly bad, but when a man spends his relief checks on green whiskey his children have a way of crying from hunger pains. I don’t know of any landowner around here who begrudges those children any game their father can hit.” 

In Chapter 17, during his testimony, Atticus shows how it was more likely that Mr. Ewell beat up Mayella. Illustrating his defiance and his ignorance, Mr. Ewell is asked if he is ambidextrous, to which he replies, "'I most positively am not, I can use one hand good as the other. One hand good as the other,' he added, glaring at the defense table." 

One of the lines that clearly demonstrates Atticus' ability to consider all angles and all perspectives of a situation occurs in Chapter 23. Atticus had a run in with Mr. Ewell during which Bob spit in Atticus' face. Challenged to fight, Atticus simply responds that he's too old and walks away. When Jem asks why he let Bob Ewell get away with such a thing, Atticus explains his thinking. 

So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there. 

In Chapter 30, Mr. Tate insists that Bob Ewell killed himself, even if it was a lie, in order to protect Arthur (Boo) Radley and Jem. "Bob Ewell fell on his knife. He killed himself." Tate repeats this because he also believes that justice has been done. 

There’s a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it’s dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr. Finch. Let the dead bury the dead.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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