What evidence does Atticus bring out that discredits Bob Ewell's story?

3 Answers

teacher2011's profile pic

teacher2011 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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After having Bob Ewell sign his name, showing to the jury that Bob was in fact left handed, he goes on to make the major argument of his case. Tom Robinson, whose left arm had its muscles ripped loose in a cotton gin accident, displays his useless left arm to the court with his inability to hold his hand on the bible in order to swear in. We see that the attacker, who led exclusively with his right, is unlikely to be Tom Robinson because his left arm has been rendered useless.
missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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There are two pieces of evidence that discredit Bob Ewell completely and they have to work together. First, Atticus shows that Bob Ewell is left-handed, and Bob tries to show that he can use both hands, but it's too late. Then, when he asks Tom to rise after Mayella pointed him out, the courtroom sees the other necessary piece of evidence: Tom's left arm is 12 inches shorter than his right.

This proves it would have been impossible to leave the injuries on Mayella that were there. It also leaves the question on the table, if not Tom who? The fact that Bob was left-handed proved that it was possible he beat his daughter because the person who hurt her led exclusively with his left.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are two main things that Atticus brings out that I think are important.

First, he brings out the fact that Bob Ewell is left handed.  He shows that Mayella was almost certainly beaten by someone who was using his left hand.

Second, he brings out that Ewell does not call for a doctor.  He says that this shows that Ewell knew Mayella had not been hurt by Tom Robinson.  If she had, he would surely have called a doctor.