To Kill a Mockingbird

The racist patriarch of the Ewell family, which lives behind the Maycomb dump. His aggressive, drunken behavior causes people in Maycomb to give him a wide berth and allow him to break the rules, as they understand that it’s useless to try to force his children to stay in school and it isn’t worth it to punish him for hunting out of season. In terms of his hunting, Mr. Ewell gets away with this in part because, though his family relies on relief checks, he spends most of the money on alcohol. When Scout first sees Mr. Ewell in court, she thinks of him as being like a bright red, cocky rooster. He’s vulgar, rude, racist, and is very obviously uneducated, which makes him look even less believable than he already does. During the trial, Atticus makes the case that Tom Robinson didn’t rape Mayella; rather, Mr. Ewell beat Mayella and blamed Robinson when he caught Mayella touching Robinson. In fact, it’s heavily implied that Mr. Ewell has sexually abused Mayella in the past, as she told Robinson that she’d never kissed a man because “what my papa do to me doesn’t count.” Even though Mr. Ewell and Mayella win their case, Mr. Ewell sets out to get revenge on everyone who made him look like a fool in court. In addition to harassing Helen Robinson and spitting in Atticus’s face, this culminates in him attempting to murder Scout and Jem on Halloween night. Mr. Tate insists that Mr. Ewell fell on his knife (in truth, Arthur Radley killed him to save the children), telling Atticus to let the killing slide so that Mr. Ewell can pay for the pain, suffering, and ultimate death he brought on Tom Robinson.

Bob Ewell Quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird

The To Kill a Mockingbird quotes below are all either spoken by Bob Ewell or refer to Bob Ewell. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Warner Books edition of To Kill a Mockingbird published in 1960.
Chapter 19 Quotes

“If you had a clear conscience, why were you scared?”

“Like I says before, it weren't safe for any nigger to be in a—fix like that.”

“But you weren't in a fix—you testified that you were resisting Miss Ewell. Were you so scared that she'd hurt you, you ran, a big buck like you?”

“No suh, I's scared I'd be in court, just like I am now.”

“Scared of arrest, scared you'd have to face up to what you did?”

“No suh, scared I'd hafta face up to what I didn't do.”

Related Characters: Tom Robinson (speaker), Mr. Gilmer (speaker), Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bob Ewell Character Timeline in To Kill a Mockingbird

The timeline below shows where the character Bob Ewell appears in To Kill a Mockingbird. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Growing Up Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...every year for the first day of school but don’t come back. He says that Mr. Ewell is contentious, and that they have no mother. Miss Caroline asks Burris to sit back... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
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...animals and it’s silly to force them to go to school. He says that similarly, Mr. Ewell can hunt out of season because he spends his relief checks on whiskey and people... (full context)
Chapter 12
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...her away. Scout peppers Calpurnia with questions and learns that Tom is in jail because Bob Ewell accused him of raping his daughter. Scout remembers how Atticus called the Ewells trash and... (full context)
Chapter 17
Prejudice Theme Icon
...she and Jem seldom come to court. Mr. Tate gives his account of what happened: Mr. Ewell called him out because Tom raped his daughter. Mr. Tate found Mayella beaten up on... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
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Scout thinks all of this seems boring. Judge Taylor calls Bob Ewell to the stand as Scout notice Jem’s grin. Bob Ewell is bright red and struts... (full context)
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Courage Theme Icon
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Mr. Gilmer begins to question Mr. Ewell . Mr. Ewell is rude to Mr. Gilmer and makes a crude joke when Mr.... (full context)
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Fixing Mr. Ewell with a glare, Judge Taylor gets the questioning going again. Mr. Ewell says he saw... (full context)
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Jem excitedly whispers that Mr. Ewell is going down. Scout doesn’t agree. She understands that Atticus is making the case that... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...afraid of Atticus. Judge Taylor assures her that Atticus won’t scare her. Mayella says that Mr. Ewell had asked her to chop up a “chiffarobe” (dresser) for firewood, but she asked Tom... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
...Atticus is just being polite. Atticus builds up a picture of the Ewells’ home life: Mr. Ewell spends the relief checks on alcohol, nobody goes to school, and the children are constantly... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
...if Mayella screamed, and asks where the other children were. He asks if Tom or Mr. Ewell beat her up. When Atticus turns away from Mayella, he looks ill. Mayella announces that... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...for her. Tom explains that the children were always around, but never helped Mayella, and Mr. Ewell didn’t either. (full context)
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...explodes momentarily, and Tom continues that Mayella kissed his cheek. Mayella told him that what Mr. Ewell does to her “doesn’t count,” and then Mr. Ewell appeared. Mr. Ewell threatened to kill... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Prejudice Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...man is something that she’s trying to push far away from her. Atticus suggests that Mr. Ewell beat Mayella when he realized what happened. He says that Tom’s only crime was feeling... (full context)
Chapter 22
Growing Up Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...children into the yard. Before Miss Rachel can stop her, Miss Stephanie shares that earlier, Mr. Ewell stopped Atticus, spat in his face, and threatened him. (full context)
Chapter 23
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Later, Atticus says later that he wishes Mr. Ewell wouldn’t chew tobacco, while Miss Stephanie takes it upon herself to dramatically tell the story... (full context)
Chapter 25
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Courage Theme Icon
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...was always going to be convicted. Meanwhile, Jem and Scout hear from Miss Stephanie that Mr. Ewell is thrilled with Tom’s death and has said that there are “two more to go.”... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Courage Theme Icon
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Just as Atticus promised, things settle down in October. Three things happen, however: first, Mr. Ewell gets a job with the WPA, but they fire him within days. Second, while Judge... (full context)
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This makes Aunt Alexandra nervous, and she doesn’t understand why Mr. Ewell is behaving this way when he won in court. Atticus points out that nobody really... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...Jem in. Mr. Tate says that he found Scout’s dress, pieces of her costume, and Mr. Ewell , dead with a kitchen knife in his ribs. (full context)
Chapter 29
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
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...Tate inspects the costume and declares that it probably saved Scout’s life. Atticus says that Mr. Ewell was out of his mind, but Mr. Tate insists that Mr. Ewell was just mean,... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...and it was self-defense. Mr. Tate asks incredulously if Atticus really thinks that Jem killed Mr. Ewell , and he insists that Jem didn’t do it. (full context)
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...She’s not quite sure what exactly they’re fighting for or about. Mr. Tate says that Mr. Ewell fell on his knife, but Atticus insists that they can’t hush this up—it’d be horrible... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
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...the switchblade. Coolly, Mr. Tate says he confiscated it from a drunk man, and that Mr. Ewell probably found the kitchen knife in the dump. Mr. Tate says that it’s his choice,... (full context)