In "To Kill a Mockingbird" why do you think people decided that Boo Radley killed Bob Ewell and that Bob Ewell didn't just fall on the knife?I know why he would have-but in the novel it doesn't...

In "To Kill a Mockingbird" why do you think people decided that Boo Radley killed Bob Ewell and that Bob Ewell didn't just fall on the knife?

I know why he would have-but in the novel it doesn't say specifically that Boo killed Bob, so how come people think that Boo did it?


Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

People conclude that Boo Radley killed Bob Ewell because the evidence seems to point in that direction.  If you look really closely at the evidence and facts that we DO have (even if we don't have a clear statement of guilt), all of it points logically to Boo Radley.  Look in chapter 28, at the actual scuffle that occurred between Bob and the children.  It is written through Scout's perspective, and she was blinded by her costume, but through sounds, we know that the man squeezing Scout to death was "suddenly jerked backwards."  Scout thinks Jem had done that, but we learn later that Jem's arm was too badly broken to have pulled anyone away.  Someone else must have been on the scene, which, we conclude later, was Boo.  So Boo jerks Bob off of Scout, and then she hears "scuffling noises" and a man wheezing as if out of breath.  He

"leaned heavily against [the tree].  He coughed violently...[then] began moving around, as if searching for something.  I hard him groan and pull something heavy along the ground."

After this, Scout hears that same man "walking heavily and unsteadily toward the road." Then, Scout feels around and feels a man on the ground, a belt buckle, and a face.

So, to interpret all of that information, using inference and what we know of Boo, Boo pulled Bob off of Scout, they fought, and then there was silence except for Boo's heavy breathing.  Boo was out of shape, used to being indoors, and later on, coughs a lot.  So, it must have been Boo coughing and trying to catch his breath.  Bob was silent. Then, we hear Boo dragging what must be Jem towards him to pick him up, then walking "heavily" away, which means he had Jem in his arms.  Then, Scout feels what must have been Bob on the ground--and his is face up.  That is key, because they later concluded (in order to protect both Boo and Jem from accusations of murder), that Bob tripped onto his knife. If he had done that, Bob would have been face down on the ground, not face up.  So, someone must have stabbed him.

So, you're right--the novel never specifically says that Boo stabbed Bob, but if you look very closely at the details in chapter 28, and put them together with what we know of Boo and what comes afterwards, then the logical conclusion is that Boo did indeed kill Bob.  I hope that those thoughts and explanations cleared things up for you a bit; good luck!

steponahen | Student

From the description of the struggle, we know Boo was present when Ewell died.

Boo has a history of violence - he stabbed someone with scissors.

Heck Tate worked out that Boo did it, and claimed that Ewell fell on his own knife to protect Boo.  He also gave Atticus lots of clues that Boo did it when they argued about it.

"It was mighty dark out there, black as ink.  It'd take somebody mighty used to the dark to make a competent witness..."  Boo Radley was used to the dark, not Jem or Scout.

"No boy Jem's size with a busted arm could tackle and kill a grown man in pitch dark" - but Boo could.

"God damn it, I'm not thinking of Jem"

"For once you haven't been able to put two and two together"

He's letting Atticus know that he's thinking of someone else rather than Jem, and is frustrated that Atticus hasn't worked out who it is.  He can't come out and say it, because then he wouldn't be protecting Boo.

The knife is what convinces Atticus.  Heck Tate uses a swithblade knife to demonstrate what happened.  Asked where he got it from he answers "a drunk man".  Bob Ewell was that drunk man. That was the knife he tried to kill Jem and Scout with.

  He was stabbed with a kitchen knife.  But Heck Tate knows that it's not Ewell's kitchen knife, so he suggests that Ewell found it in a dump.  Because he knows it was Boo Radley's kitchen knife.

Atticus then puts two and two together, and thanks Boo.

majbro | Student

Whether should we think that Boo Radley killed Bob Ewell?

Imagen you’re a person that got into trouble and was forbidden to go out of the house in the day time because that was your punishment. And there are people that are rumoring hideous things about you saying you stabbed someone with scissors and that you go around watching people in their sleep in the dark and that you eat cats and many more malicious rumors. when really all you want is a friend even if they are 2 children. Your strolling around your house in the dark and the two children you know are being attacked you try run to them and with much you yank the attacker away with much effort because you have very little strength they stumble and try to attack you but you shove them away they stumble and fall and don’t get up then with a great amount of effort you carry one of the injured children to their home. While you’re there the sheriff says nonsenses stuff that makes you seem like a murderer who killed the attacker. What would you feel? What would you do?

We can all agree that Boo was at the scene of the murder. Some people say that Boo stabbed Bob Ewell with his own kitchen knife but this is wrong because Boo would not have tried to cut scout with a knife and it says that the costume saved scout because there was a slash marks.

Boo Radley was not guilty of murdering Bob Ewell. Here are some proofs

1 it is very difficult for someone, in this case “Bob”, to run or walk fast without tripping on a rock in the morning, afternoon or night. Now Bob ran towards the children with rocks and roots and other inconveniences in the dark while fighting Jem. They were also under a big tree with roots that would make it very impenetrable not to trip. And Bob was kicking and fighting in the dark and no one had night vision to see the rocks and roots.

2 Bob Ewell was drunk while rustling with Jem, scout and boo in the dark night. When you’re drunk you take a long time to do things, you keep an inconsistent pace, and Stumble when you walk. Bob was drunk and would have done all of those actions making him way more prone to falling on his own knife When Bob was drunk he tried to do something that he probably never would have done if he was sober. He tried to kill two children he tried to take the life of kids to get revenge for being humiliated.

3 Boo Radley was not a strong and healthy man. Boo Radley didn’t work in the fields he didn’t cut wood with an axe he didn’t work to survive. Bob did bob needed to work to eat and survive meaning Bob was a strong man and even drunk men are strong. Boo wouldn’t be strong enough to fight a strong drunk farmer he wouldn’t be strong enough Boo was forbidden to go outside in the day and at night he wouldn’t be cutting wood cause that would wake people up he wouldn’t be plowing fields because he couldn’t and he wouldn’t be very healthy for not going out in the sun and he was very sensitive to light which would be why he was standing in the dark behind the door.

Some people say that we should think that Boo Radley killed Bob because Boo is known for stabbing people with scissors. And nobody really knows him making him more mysterious and evil and he has a bad reputation he had to have stabbed bob.

But this is not true because first of all it was a rumor that boo stabs people with scissors there has been no medical there has been no medical evidence that Boo had done such a thing and it was Miss Stephanie Crawford who said Boo stabbed his parent and we know for fact that Miss Stephanie is a Gossip Queen and she doesn’t have any knowledge of that from the court. Boo wasn’t a mysterious and evil guy people just herd to many malicious rumors about him. Boo may have had a bad reputation but it wasn’t for killing people.

Boo Radley is not guilty of murdering Bob Ewell with a kitchen knife for three reasons

1 it is very difficult for someone, in this case bob, to walk or to run fast without tripping on a rock or root in the morning, afternoon or night.

2 Bob was drunk when he was rustling with the children

3 Boo Radley was not a strong and healthy man

this is my opinion and the book says nothing about boo stabbing bob

mtswiri | Student

it is because people thought that Boo was crazy and he once stabbed his father with a scissor

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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