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Midnight Attack Essay

821 words - 4 pages

While walking home from their school on a pitch black Halloween night, Jem and Scout Finch are brutally attacked by a drunken vagabond, Bob Ewell. This paper addresses the scene occurring on page 261 of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. In this passage, Harper Lee intends the mood to be tense, by using descriptive and vivid imagery for the senses of sound and touch, and also by completely omitting the sense of sight.
Harper Lee begins to set the stage for the rest of the passage, by first using imagery for the sense of sound. Scout first begins to believe something is wrong when she hears “[Bob Ewell’s] trousers swish[ing] softly and steadily” (261) while he tries to sneak up on ...view middle of the document...

Jem pulls Scout up off the ground and tries to help her escape Bob Ewell and runs toward their house. Unfortunately, Bob Ewell catches up to them and Scout “[feels] Jem’s hand leave her” (262) and “[feels] him jerk backwards to the ground” (262) as Bob pulls Jem away from Scout. Bob Ewell, at this point, breaks Jem’s arm, as described in the above paragraph, and attacks Scout when she tries to interfere. As Bob tries to crush Scout, she feels that “his stomach [is] soft but his arms [are] like steel” (262), meaning that even though he is fat, he is very strong. Scout is saved by Boo Radley, who pulls Bob Ewell off of her and causes Bob to fall onto his own knife, when “[Bob Ewell] [is] jerked backwards and flung on the ground” (262). Phrases such as these immerse the reader in the story and make them feel as though they are engulfed in the tension.
Despite using imagery so often for the senses of sound and touch, Harper Lee purposefully omits the sense of sight from the entire passage. She uses Scout’s perspective for the fight and Scout, being in a chicken wire costume, cannot see anything. Interestingly enough, this lack of imagery does not take away from the passage. In...

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