What are some examples that show Bob Ewell is not hospitable or neighborly in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird?

Expert Answers
Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, examples of Bob Ewell's inhospitality and inability to be neighborly can be seen in stunts he pulls soon after Tom Robinson's trial and subsequent death.

Though Tom Robinson was convicted of the crime, Ewell was fully aware that Atticus had exposed the true nature of Ewell's character as well as his guilt. Feeling persecuted, Ewell begins pulling stunts around the neighborhood as acts of revenge.

First, he spits in Atticus's face and threatens to kill him. Next, when Ewell takes up a job through the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and is promptly fired "for laziness," Ewell blames Atticus for somehow "'getting' his job" (Ch. 27). Third, someone stalks Judge Taylor while he is home alone, as usual, on a Sunday night, and that someone is believed to be Ewell. Finally, Ewell and his family begin persecuting Tom Robinson's widow, Helen Robinson.

Ewell's treatment of Helen most clearly portrays the lowliness of Ewell's character, as well as his inhospitality and inability to be neighborly. One reason why his treatment of Helen is so significant is because, not only does Ewell know she is a perfectly innocent person, he also knows that her late husband Tom Robinson was also perfectly innocent, that Ewell himself was the true culprit. Regardless of this knowledge, Ewell allows his family members to throw things at her as she makes her way past their home to her new job at Mr. Link Deas's house, Tom's former employer. When Deas threatens Ewell with the weight of the law, Ewell prevents his children from throwing things at her but begins following her instead. Helen reports that, all the way to Deas's house, "she heard a soft voice behind her, crooning foul words" (Ch. 27).

Hence, as we can see, Ewell's treatment of his neighbors in revenge of being shown to be guilty demonstrates he is not the sort of person who, in general, can be hospitable and neighborly.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question