In "To Kill A Mockingbird", who should be blamed for Jem's broken arm, Ewell or Boo Radley?I would say Ewell, because he physically injured him. But I want to know how or if Boo Radley...

In "To Kill A Mockingbird", who should be blamed for Jem's broken arm, Ewell or Boo Radley?

I would say Ewell, because he physically injured him. But I want to know how or if Boo Radley can also be the blame, & why?

Asked on by mayjoy

4 Answers | Add Yours

engtchr5's profile pic

engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

There's no real way that Boo can be responsible for Jem's broken arm. It was during the physical conflict between Jem and Ewell that his arm was broken, the text says. Boo only arrives on scene after Ewell is attacking Scout, who had responded to Jem's cries.

Boo's involvement could in no way have caused harm to Jem, in particular. While the townspeople have previously accused Boo of all kinds of misdeeds, this is one time when his actions were kind, just, and necessary.

mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I don't see how Boo could be to blame.  Jem's arm was broken by Ewell as Ewell was scuffling with him. We know this because right after Jem screams in pain from the break, Scout runs towards the scream, directly into Ewell, who is just standng there.  If Boo had been part of the scuffle that broke Jem's arm, then he would have been fighting with Ewell at that point. It is after Jem screamed in pain and Ewell was crushing Scout that Boo comes on the scene (according to what Scout heard) and jerks Ewell off of her.  Boo probably heard Jem scream and was alarmed, and ran out to see what was happening, just in time to save Scout and carry Jem back home.

dbello's profile pic

dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

There is no doubt that Ewell is responsible for Jem's injury. However, your question is a valid one because the author wants the reader to think about how individuals are treated. Boo Radley has been 'labeled' as a potential danger not because he is dangerous, but because he is isolated and misunderstood by the community. Boo Radley is an easier target than Ewell. Although both white men, his is considered more dangerous due to the myth surrounding his existence. Ewell lived his entire life as the worst kind of individual, however due to the color of his skin many people either overlooked or excused his horrible and criminal behavior. Interestingly, Boo Radley shows a compassion for humanity that Ewell never once in his life possessed.

mandastewart's profile pic

mandastewart | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

ewell attacked jem, and broke his arm. boo radley tried to stop it. he couldnt prevent the broken arm, but he did save both jem and scouts life.

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