Who Killed Bob Ewell In To Kill A Mockingbird


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    The novel ends after Bob Ewell attacks Scout and Jem, and Boo Radley rescues them, killing Bob in the process. Atticus and Sheriff Heck Tate have a conversation about how to deal with the situation, and Scout walks Boo home. The conversation between Atticus and Heck can be difficult to understand, because the two men are talking about two different things. Atticus, who believes Jem is the one who killed Bob, thinks Heck wants to cover up the truth to protect Jem. Atticus is adamantly against lying to protect Jem. He thinks that protecting Jem from the law will undermine Atticus’s relationship with his children and everything that he has taught them. Heck, however, realizes that Boo killed Bob Ewell, and wants to cover up the truth to protect Boo. Heck doesn’t believe that Boo will be in any kind of legal trouble, because he was clearly protecting the children, but he thinks that the community will want to thank Boo and make him a hero which would be ruinous to Boo’s intense desire for privacy.

    Atticus vehemently opposes covering up Jem’s involvement in Bob Ewell’s death, but he accepts that covering up Boo’s involvement is the right decision. This apparent inconsistency is an important moment in the reader’s understanding of Atticus and his motivations. Atticus is a highly principled man who values law and justice, but he is a man who values his relationship with his children even more. Atticus is not afraid that covering up Jem’s involvement will be unethical or illegal. He is concerned that doing something so hypocritical will ruin his relationship with his children. Atticus would rather that Jem face some difficulties than think that his father did not hold him to the same standard as everyone else. Atticus does not have that kind of relationship with Boo, and in fact likely owes Boo for the lives of both of his children, so Atticus is willing to accept that subjecting Boo to public scrutiny would be a mistake.

    Another important aspect of the novel’s ending is Scout’s walk home with Boo. Boo specifically asks Scout to take him home – his only spoken lines of dialogue in the entire novel, revealing that this character who has been a source of fear for so many of the townspeople, including Scout and Jem, is actually quite fearful himself. In seeing Boo’s fear, Scout is put into the position of wanting to protect him, and his dignity, from the rest of the town. Calling Boo “Mr. Radley,” Scout takes him arm so that it looks like Boo is the one who is walking her down the street. In protecting Boo’s dignity and empathizing with his fear, Scout puts herself in another person’s shoes and thinks about the world from their perspective, just as Atticus instructed her. Atticus’s final lines, that most people are nice when you finally see them for who they are, underscores Scout’s maturation process from a child who was irrationally afraid of Boo to an adult capable of seeing Boo as a human being.

    Scouts maturity here is astounding for a child her age. By upholding societal conventions in this instance, shes able to protect anothers — a mans — pride and standing in the community. Scout may not like or agree with societys expectations of her, but she now understands that acting within those parameters is often a show of kindness and compassion. Significantly, inside her home, Scout leads Boo; outside, she allows him to lead her. Scout recognizes that she can project a ladylike appearance on the outside while remaining true to herself and her own convictions on the inside.

    Lee uses these chapters to provide an exquisite ending to a powerful novel by allowing circumstances to come full circle. Scout finally attains her childish wish to see Boo Radley in person just one time. To her surprise, he is a nice, gentle man who appears to be somewhat sickly — not at all the monster of her imagination.

    Scout, Atticus, Heck Tate, and Boo retire to the front porch. Atticus begins defending Jem, insisting that killing Bob Ewell was clearly self-defense. Sheriff Tate corrects Atticus, saying that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife. Atticus appreciates what Heck is trying to do, but he doesnt want anyone to cover for Jem. The sheriff remains adamant, saying that he isnt protecting Jem. As the men argue, Atticus realizes that Boo Radley killed Ewell, and it is Boo who Tate is trying to protect. They finally agree that Ewell did fall on his own knife, a decision Scout fully understands.

    Boo sees Jem one more time and then asks Scout to take him home. Scout allows him to escort her to his door. She returns to Jems room and Atticus reads aloud to her until she falls asleep. He tucks her in her own bed, and then retreats to Jems room, where he spends the night.

    For the endless hours Atticus has devoted to teaching Jem and Scout about human nature, compassion, and responsibility, it is Scout who has to remind him that charging Boo Radley with murder would “be sort of like shootin a mockingbird.” The lessons Atticus has most hoped to teach his children are given back to him with that statement. At the beginning of the novel, Atticus engages Scout in a white lie about their reading together to keep her in school without unduly embarrassing Miss Caroline. Here, this lesson comes full circle when Scout reminds Atticus that the white lie about Ewell keeps the town safe without jeopardizing Boo Radley.

    Boo Radley clearly killed Bob Ewell. Throughout the whole book Boo was being nice to the kids, he gave them gifts though the tree and he placed a blanket on Scout. That night when Jem broke his arm they were close to the Radley house, Boo heard them Scout and Jem yelling and came to the rescue. Since Bob was going to kill them Boo killed hime first in an effort to save his friends. Also why would Boo have come to the Finchs house after unless he was involved?

    All the evidence might point to Boo but Tate had to of been there when Ewell was killed…because when everything grew quiet and Scout was calling out for Jem and heard no reponse it “slowly came to me [her]that there were now FOUR people under the tree.” Now, Ewell had struggled over to the tree, thats one, Jem might of been unconscious near the tree, thats two, Boo since he was the one who carried Jem to the house, thats three, and for the fourth unless Mrs. Harper Lee made a mistake (which I highly doubt) the only other person that could of been under that tree was Mr. Heck Tate. But I might be very wrong, that sentence out of the whole book was the only thing I didnt understand.

    It could have actually been an accident and not a conspiracy exactly how Harper wrote it. Scout makes mention of how white Arthurs hands were at the house. He couldnt have had time to wash them and while Ive never witnessed a stabbing, I believe it would cause at least some blood to get on a persons hands.

    i believe that arthur killed him. but just because scout says Arthur cant carry him doesnt point out that arthur did it. He was a weak man, he never leaves the house and pale when she sees him. all scout is saying is that hes not strong enough to carry jem because he has no strength to begin with. A man with a lifestyle like arthur wouldnt have any strength to carry like a 12 or 13 year old.

    It was Boo. Jem went unconscious from shock after Bob broke his arm. Scout would have mentioned something about killing him because she is the narrator. This leaves Bob and someone else under the tree. Bob coughing due to his lungs filling with blood, or Boo coughing “his dreadful raling cough.” Heck gives us a hint that Boo is the only one who knows what happened when he says, “d take somebody MIGHTY USED TO THE DARK to make a competent witness…”

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