What do you think of Atticus' reaction to Bob Ewell's challenge?  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 23, Atticus is leaving the post office when Bob Ewell approaches him. Bob Ewell threatens and curses at Atticus, and then spits in his face. According to Miss Stephanie, Atticus does not respond and simply takes out his handkerchief and wipes the spit off his face. She said that Atticus just stood there and let Bob call him names. Bob says to Atticus, "Too proud to fight, you nigger-lovin' bastard?" Atticus calmly responds by saying, "No, too old." (Lee 291) Atticus' reaction displays his tolerant, anti-violent approach to dealing with controversial situations. Later on in the chapter, he tells his children that he can sympathize with Bob's negative feelings. Atticus understands Bob's anger and lets him take it out on him at the post office. Atticus says, "He had to take it out on somebody and I'd rather it be me than that houseful of children out there" (Lee 293). Atticus' calm reaction is typical of his character throughout the novel. Atticus always keeps his cool and has a meaning behind all his actions. Atticus is aware that Bob will more than likely take his anger out on his kids, and Atticus selflessly lets Bob vent his feelings toward him. I feel that Atticus' calm reaction was justified and that he took the "high road" by choosing to walk away.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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