In "To Kill a Mockingbird," what are the similarities and differences between Atticus Finch and Bob Ewell? E.g.: atticus-righteous and bob-immoralSimilarity- Both discriminated by the...

In "To Kill a Mockingbird," what are the similarities and differences between Atticus Finch and Bob Ewell?

E.g.: atticus-righteous and bob-immoral

Similarity- Both discriminated by the community for one reason or another.

Expert Answers
jlcannad eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say the most important way they are alike is that they both have to deal with people who clearly hate them.  In Atticus' case, many people in Maycomb think he's a "nigger-lover" and are very vocal about sharing that opinion.  In Bob Ewell's case, people think he's white trash and I think that even he knows that they secretly consider him below the hard-working blacks.  I think that's why he hates blacks so much.

But that similarity leads to the most important difference.  When Atticus feels like the world has turned against him, he continues to do the right thing, even when it's him against a mob and he believes he is going to lose.  He doesn't scramble after some illusion of power.  But Bob Ewell is determined to prove his "worthy" by proving that he has power over others.  He dominates his daughter (and possibly rapes her, which is a clear power play).  He accuses Tom Robinson and essentially gets him killed.  He attacks Jem and Scout, two children who are no match for a grown man.  He wants power, and he abuses others to feel more powerful. 

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both of these men are rearing children without wives/mothers, also.

Bob Ewell is discriminated against because he is a drunk and does not work a steady job in order to provide for his family.  He also mistreats and abuses Mayella.  The Ewells are low class white people who are discriminated against because they are beneath everyone in town with the exception of the black population.  The Ewells are only above the black community because they are white.  There is no work ethic or honor involved in the judgement.

Atticus is discriminated against based on his representation of Tom Robinson  in the trial.  In hindsight, everyone knows Atticus is chosen because he will do a good job for Tom, an innocent and good man, who will be found guilty anyway solely because he is black.

gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main ways that Bob and Atticus are similar are that they are both Southern men, both locally raised, both known in the community, and both defined in part by their families. Both seek to speak for those families. Both are involved in Mayella's fate, and in Scout's (their daughters).The ways that they differ are numerous. They differ in ethics, work habits, education, position in community, manners, level and type of honor, attitudes towards race, etc.

mangelique2012 | Student

However, the characters that are written above are pretty much similar. Despite of what they did, good or bad, both of them are just trying to protect their children.  Both are secondary characters and played a big part of the story. They are segregated or discriminated by the community for some reason. Both of the characters needs to face the people who dislikes or hates them for what they are and what they did.

                                                                                   ~Mary Angelique

princessme900 | Student

They are both very different in multiple ways, such as:

1. manners

2. ways of speaking

3. brains

4. they never get laid.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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