what do we learn indirectly of the home life of the Ewell Family in this chapter 17

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schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Most of what we learn, we learn from Scout.  She tells us that the Ewells

1. The Ewells are on government assistance in good times and in bad.  When Atticus asks Mr. Ewell to show he can write by signing his name, he says "How do you think I sign my relief checks?" (pg 177)

2. Their children did not attend school, and the truant officer couldn't do anything about it.

3. The children had various diseases because of the filthy surrounding they lived in.

4. They lived behind the garbage dump in what had been Negro  housing during slavery times.

5. They lived in a house that had corrugated iron walls and tin cans for a shingled roof.

6. They went to the dump every day to see what they could find, and it made their front yard look like a dump.

7. Nobody was sure how many children they had. The number was between six and nine.

8. No one went to visit them except at Christmas when they brought them baskets of food.

When Mr. Ewell takes the stand we learn, indirectly, that

1. The mother is dead. 

2. Mr. Ewell has no respect for Mayelle.  He says that she was screaming "like a stuck hog". ( pg 172)  He also says that he didn't call a doctor for Mayella because "...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." (pg 174)

3. Mr. Ewell does not like blacks.  He says "I seen that black nigger..."

4. Mr. Ewell's language was so bad that someone requested that the judge clear the room of the women and children. Instead, the judge says,

"Mr. Ewell, you will keep your testimony within the confines of Christian English usage, if that is possible." (pg 174)

5. Mr. Ewell thinks he is better than the black people who live around him.  He says,

"....I've asked this county for fifteen years to clean out that nest down yonder, they're dangerous to live around 'sides devaluin' my property..." (pg 174).

Please note above the description of Mr. Ewell's property from Scout.

6. Mr. Ewell is left-handed when he signs his name, but declares that he can use both hands well.  He is ambidexterous. 

7. Mr. Ewell can read and write.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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