Opinion Of The Ewells In To Kill A Mockingbird

1268 words - 5 pages

To Kill a Mockingbird : Discuss Your Opinion Of The Ewells

The Ewells play a significant part in this story of "To Kill a
Mockingbird". In the first chapter, Scout mentions the Ewells to us
that the "Ewells started it all". Scout means that the Ewells had an
affect on the residents of Maycomb. The story will involve an
allegation of rape and the way black and white issues (the prejudice
that runs through the whole of the story) are covered. Burris Ewell,
the son of Bob Ewell, shows how bad his living conditions are. He has
head lice and is very dirty. Scout describes him as: "He was the
filthiest human I had ever seen. His neck was dark gray, the backs of
his hands were rusty, and his fingernails were black deep into the
quick". He does not care that he is dirty or he has head lice. He
cannot read, write or spell his name. He has no mother and Mayella
Ewell brings him up. From the very beginning of the story, the Ewells
are portrayed badly. Scout learns from her father that she had to go
to school but the Ewells do not. Atticus explains that the Ewells are
not regular people and this goes back three generations: "None of them
(Ewells) had done an honest day's work in his recollection. He said
that some Christmas, when he was getting ride of the trees, he would
take me with him and show me where and how they lived. They were
people, but they lived like animals." This quote shows us the
prejudice that the Ewells experience from other people in Maycomb
because of their low social position in the town. We learn about the
Ewells mainly in the court case when Mayella Ewell has accused a black
man, Tom Robinson of raping her. From the court case we learn that Bob
Ewell is ignorant and quite crude in his use of language and his
background: "Every town the size of Maycomb had families like the
Ewells. No economic fluctuations changed their status - people like
the Ewells lived as guests of the country in prosperity as well as in
the depths of a depression." The Ewells lived in dirty conditions,
have no money and are unemployed. They are considered to be "White
trash"; they are uneducated, full of disease and do not seem to care.

The Ewells lived "behind the town garbage dump in what was once a
Negro cabin". When the weather was very cold Ewells could not afford
shoes and so cut "dandy ones from strips of old tyres". Tom Robinson
asks where are the children and Mayella Ewell "says they all gone to
town to get ice-creams. She says, "Took me a slap year to save some
nickels, but I done it. They all gone to town." Mr. Gilmer starts to
question Robert Ewell and his language is very crude. He talks about
how Mayella Ewells screamed like a "stuck hog". This shows us that he
had no sympathy for his daughter. Mr. Ewell takes God's name in vain
when he says, "Mayella was screaming fit to beat Jesus". Harper Lee
shows Mr. Ewell as a character that we do not have sympathy because he
swears; he is rude and does not...

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