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

Robert E. Lee "Bob" Ewell, commonly referred to as Bob Ewell, is the main antagonist of the 1960 Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and its 1962 film adaptation of the same name. He is the alcoholic and abusive father of Mayella Ewell, and a virulent racist who frames an innocent Black man for raping her.

He was portrayed by the late James Anderson in the film adaptation.

Biography

Bob Ewell is the abusive father of eight children, including Mayella and Burris Ewell. His family is extremely impoverished, living in a cramped, filthy, and disorganized house. He supports his family by illegally hunting, but is so poor he cannot afford basic services like education or healthcare for his family.

Sometime before the events of the novel, Ewell had found out that his daughter Mayella kissed a Black man named Tom Robinson, who helped them with their daily chores. Enraged, Bob chased Tom away and proceeded to physically abuse (and possibly rape) Mayella.

At the beginning of the novel, Bob accuses Tom of beating and raping his daughter. Bob takes advantage of the racist justice system of Maycomb County, knowing that its police and jury system will believe that Tom raped a white woman simply because of his race.

During the trial, Tom's lawyer, Atticus Finch, points out that the injuries that Mayella sustained are inconsistent with the fact that Tom's left arm had been essentially disabled, as her injuries indicated that her abuser was left-handed. It is later revealed that Bob was left-handed (by having him write his name), and that he was the one who truly assaulted Mayella. The all-white jury still finds Tom guilty, however, and Tom is sent to prison.

Bob relishes in and boasts about his victory at the trial (especially after finding out Tom had been shot and killed in prison while attempting to escape), but the other residents of Maycomb County, realizing that Bob had been lying and exploiting the justice system, show scorn and derision towards him. Bob becomes extremely infuriated and incandescent for still not garnering any respect, and becomes increasingly violent, spitting in Atticus' face, attempted breaking and entering in the judge's house, and intimidating Tom's widow Helen.

Eventually, his violence culminates in his ultimate revenge for Atticus, and on Halloween night, he attempts to kill Atticus' two children, Scout and Jem, using a kitchen knife. However, he is blocked by the enigmatic Arthur "Boo" Radley, and the two engage in a struggle. Eventually, Boo manages to fatally wound Bob using Bob's kitchen knife. When the Maycomb County Sheriff, Heck Tate, finds out about the fight, he reports that Bob accidentally killed himself by "falling on his own knife", in order to protect Boo.

What Makes Him Pure Evil?

  • He essentially sentences an innocent Black man to death by manipulating the prejudiced justice system in Maycomb County, partly because he was racist and partly so that Maycomb County would shower him with praise.
  • After being humiliated and disrespected in court (and realizing that Maycomb still doesn’t respect him despite successfully killing Tom Robinson) he attempts to murder Atticus Finch's two children, Scout and Jem, out of pure vengeance, even though the jury declared Tom Robinson as guilty. It also makes him a coward since he decided to go after the children and not Atticus.
  • He attempted to rob Judge Taylor after he made him look like a fool.
  • He takes poor care of his family by neglecting and abusing his eight children. It gets so bad that the town sheriff allows him to hunt illegally to prevent his children from starving to their deaths.
  • Considering what he framed Tom Robinson of doing, it is highly likely Bob may have actually raped Mayella, his own daughter, himself.

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Films
Count Dracula (1931) | Uncle Charlie | Max Cady | Bob Ewell | Michael Myers | Thulsa Doom | SkekSo | Baron Vladimir Harkonnen | Chucky | Horace Pinker | Robert G. Durant | Party Crasher | The Robesons | Evil Ash | Amon Goeth | Wade | David McCall | King Einon | Akivasha | Nick Kudrow | Marcus Andrews | Satan | Commodus | David Griffin | Mason Verger | The Killer | Mary Shaw | Emperor Han | Sir Godfrey | Marissa Wiegler | Zack White | Sultan Mehmed II | The Asset | Rose Armitage | Roman Armitage | Cipher | Ahmanet | John Tombs | Rallah | Selena Izzard | Thaddeus Valentine | Dr. Gregory Butler | Brixton Lore | Adrian Griffin | Blissfield Butcher | Jack

Novelizations
David Banner

Video Games
Alejandro Sosa

See Also
Universal Animation Pure Evils | Halloween Horror Nights Pure Evils

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