Parenting is an act of being a parent, which means you show love and care towards your offspring. Harper lee’s book To Kill A Mockingbird, shows the difference in parenting of the characters Bob Ewell and Atticus Finch. Some ways these two characters are different is depicted in this essay by: showing the difference in the hygiene of themselves and their children, their lifestyles, their community acceptance, and their morals and values. Atticus Finch and Bob Ewell are diversified in many ways in this novel that is why I chose to contrast them.
The first difference between Atticus and Bob is themselves and their children’s hygiene. Bob Ewell’s child Burris was a very defiled child, “he had a dark gray neck, the backs of his hands were rusty, and his fingernails were black deep into the quick” (Lee 27). Burris was instructed by the teacher to leave early to “wash you hair with lye soap. When you’ve done that, treat your scalp with kerosene” (Lee 26). Burris was angered by this remark responding, “You ain’t sendin’ me home missus” (Lee 27), this displayed a sort of defensive side to the kids due to their dads lack of parenting they have to fend for themselves in a cruel insecure world for a child his age. Scout and Jem were well-groomed children no soiled clothes or face were kept on them for a long time like Burris.
The next disparate characteristic is that of their lifestyles. The Ewells lived behind the town garbage dump in what was once a Negro’s cabin. “No economic flatuatuion change their status” (Lee170). The cabin’s plank walls were supplemented with sheets of corrugated iron, its roof shingled with tin cans hammered flat, so only its general shape suggested its original diamond.
“The varmints had a lean time of it, the Ewells gave the dump a thorough gleaning every day, and the fruits of their industry made the plot of ground around the cabin look like the playhouse of an insane child” (Lee 170). “Nobody was quite sure how many children were on the place” (Lee 171), showing their lifestyle to be so corrupt that nobody really wanted to go to the dump to see who or what was there. Atticus, Calpurnia, (the housekeeper), scout, and Jem lived on the main residential street in town. Atticus had enough to support his family since he was “admitted to the bar and returned to Maycomb and began his practice” (Lee 4), and also to make a living.
The next polarity between Bob and Atticus is their community acceptance. Bob Ewell was considered as a “guest of the county in prosperity as well as in the depths of a depression” (Lee 170). The Ewells were not liked by many due to their grotesque decorum, and their unhealthy habits. “no public health officer could free them from congenital diseases” (Lee 170). “He (Atticus) like Maycomb, he was Maycomb county born and bred” (Lee 5). The community accepted Atticus with great reverence with him being a lawyer for them, ready to serve and protect them when justification was needed in their life. “he knew his people, they knew him, and because of Simon Finch’s industry, Atticus was related by blood or marriage to nearly every family in the town” (Lee 5).
The last contrast that I am going to relate, are Bob and Atticus’s views of morals and values. Bob Ewell was very much a prejudice against blacks; his accusation led to the Tom Robinson trial, of course blaming a black. Bob Ewell doesn’t very righteous fatherly morals/values, due to the fact that “They (his kids) didn’t have to go to school, for one thing” (Lee 31), showing he really didn’t care that much. Atticus had virtuous morals/values, he, even though assigned, took the Tom Robinson case, even though he knew he was going to be scandalized for it.
“You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head up high…” (Lee 76). Atticus showed that he doesn’t want to have this bother his children as Atticus says in the book, “I’m simply defending a Negro-his name’s Tom Robinson… cal knows his family well. She says they’re clean-living folks” (Lee 75).
Also, Atticus brings up another good moral/value. In the gift-giving process, Atticus gives Jem and Scout air-rifles and tells them to “kill all the bluejays you want, if you can hit’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (Lee 90). This shows that Atticus realizes that even though it’s a bird, which are classified as pesky, it doesn’t endanger our lives, so we should not endanger its.
Bob Ewell and Atticus Finch are contrastable in so many ways. Their ways of life were incomparable, Bob being one for laziness and Atticus the one to stand up for what is right. Atticus was a very kind-hearted soul and in the end his justice was served. This shows how totally grotesque someone can be and still defeat good, but you will soon learn towards the end that all good conquers all. This book really touched a lot on good conquering all in the Boo Radley situation and in the trial/death of Bob Ewell.
1. Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott Company. 1960.