What are some characteristics of the Ewells?

Answered by Robert Flynn

Bob Ewell, a character in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, is portrayed as a despicable and reprehensible individual. His character traits are revealed through his actions and interactions with others in the story.

One of the most prominent characteristics of Bob Ewell is his cruelty. He takes pleasure in causing harm and pain to others, particularly those who he perceives as inferior or powerless. This cruelty is evident in his treatment of his own daughter, Mayella, whom he physically and emotionally abuses. He also demonstrates his cruelty towards Tom Robinson, a black man who he accuses of raping his daughter, by falsely testifying against him in court.

Another characteristic of Bob Ewell is his excessive pride. Despite being an unemployed and uneducated man, he clings to a sense of superiority and entitlement. He believes that his race alone grants him authority and respect, and he becomes outraged when his authority is challenged. His pride is wounded when Atticus Finch, the defense lawyer for Tom Robinson, exposes his lies and inconsistencies during the trial, leading to his humiliation.

Abusiveness is yet another prominent trait of Bob Ewell. He not only physically abuses his daughter but also emotionally manipulates her to maintain control over her. His abusive behavior stems from a desire to exert power and dominance over those he considers weaker than himself. This abusive nature is further highlighted by his attempt to harm Scout and Jem Finch, the children of Atticus Finch, in retaliation for their father’s involvement in the trial.

Bob Ewell’s racism is perhaps the most significant characteristic that defines him. He holds deep-seated prejudices against black people and believes that they are inferior to whites. His racist beliefs fuel his false accusation against Tom Robinson and his determination to see him convicted, solely based on his skin color. His racist mindset is also evident in his vulgar and derogatory language when referring to black individuals.

Bob Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird is depicted as a cruel, prideful, abusive, and racist character. These traits shape his interactions with others and drive his actions throughout the novel. His character serves as a stark representation of the deeply ingrained racism and prejudice that existed in the Southern society during that time.