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Bob Ewell

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Too proud to fight, you nigger-lovin' bastard?
~ Bob trash talking Atticus

Robert E. (Edward) Lee "Bob" Ewell is the main antagonist of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird and its 1962 film adaptation. He is portrayed by American actor James Anderson in the film adaptation.

Biography

He is the patriarch of the Ewell clan, a large family of degenerates best known for only coming to school on the first day and then never showing up again. Bob is a raging alcoholic who takes very poor care of his family and only feeds them by hunting local wildlife. He has no respect for others, just as Maycomb County has no respect for him.

During the story, he rapes/beats his daughter Mayella and they frame a black man named Tom Robinson for it, who faces a possible death sentence, hoping that Maycomb County would consider him a hero for doing so. At the trial, Tom is defended by Atticus Finch, who makes a strong case for the defendant and exposes a number of flaws in Mayella’s story which makes people suspicious of Bob, although Tom is officially found guilty due to the unfair racial bias of the court system.

Though he was successful at convicting Tom Robinson, he gets angry at Maycomb County for still not respecting him. Later, Bob Ewell swears revenge on Atticus for defaming him and spits in his face, and even harasses Tom Robinson’s widow after Tom tragically dies while trying to escape from prison before an appeal could be made.

Ewell still wishes to get revenge on Atticus Finch for what he managed to prove in court. At the climax of the book, Ewell returns and tries to kill Scout and Jem while they are walking home through the woods, but is thwarted when Boo Radley shows up to save them and is impaled by his own knife.

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