What is the significance of the incident at Judge Taylor's house?

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lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Not long after the end of Tom Robinson's trial, with the predictable guilty verdict, it becomes apparent that the perpetual drunk Bob Ewell has not forgotten that Atticus made him look like a fool on the witness stand (admiittedly, not a difficult task).  He is overheard by some townspeople making a not-so-veiled threat toward Atticus, and when he encounters Atticus, Ewell actually spits on him.  One evening when Judge Taylor is reading in his study late at night, sounds are heard that suggest that someone is prowling around his home, and the reader easily infers that it is probably Bob Ewell, still up to no good.  These events lead up to the climax of the novel on Halloween night when Ewell tries to kill Scout and Jem.