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Was Mr.Ewell Fair in To Kill A Mockingbird?

To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the best known novels in the world. Many people have read and enjoyed it through the years. The message that I wish to support in this paper is the idea that Scout Finch was able to convince Mr. Ewell to be fair during his attack on both her and her older brother, Jem. I will give my reasons for this opinion in the following paragraphs. Mr. Ewell was angry at Scout and Jem’s father, Atticus, for defending a black man who supposedly attacked his daughter, and also for suggesting that Mr. Ewell himself might be responsible for the attack (Lee, 1960).

Because of this, Mr. Ewell attacked both the children as they were walking home from a school play (Lee, 1960). Scout was wearing a “ham” costume (Lee, 1960, p. 256), and that made it very hard for her to be attacked. The simple fact that Scout made Mr. Ewell have to fight to harm her must have given him time to think, and so he exhibited fairness in leaving her alone. The second way that Scout caused Mr. Ewell to be fair also had to do with her costume. Because it was so bulky and was taking up so much of his time, Jem had the chance to attack him from behind (Lee, 1960).

Mr. Ewell had a knife, and he could have easily killed Jem right there, but he didn’t (Lee, 1960). He harmed Jem, but not badly enough to cause death (Lee, 1960). I believe that this was due in part to the difficulty Scout’s costume presented. Mr. Ewell had time to think, and so he could not bring himself to kill Jem. The final way that Scout convinced Mr. Ewell to be fair was through her voice. She was crying out through the whole ordeal, and perhaps her voice made him think of his own daughter. He had not been fair in his treatment of his own child (Lee, 1960, p.

186), so perhaps the cries of another little girl won him over. In the end, Mr. Ewell died of a wound from his own knife (Lee, 1960). There was a question of whether Jem stabbed him, but the police chief insisted Mr. Ewell had stabbed himself (Lee, 1960, p. 275). Was it intentional or an accident? We will never know for sure. What we can be sure of is that in the last minutes of his life, when he could have easily killed both children, Scout appealed to his heart, and he was fair to them, and let them go on living.

References

Lee, Harper. (1960). To kill a mockingbird. New York : Warner Books, Inc.

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