Often in Literature, parents abuse their power against their children. Such abuse could lead their children to feel isolated and alienated. For example, in To Kill a Mockingbird Bob Ewell abuses his children to an extent that they become isolated from the community. The purpose of this essay is to consider how perpetrators of isolation control their victims in To Kill A Mockingbird, Rose For Emily, and Gathering Blue. Bob Ewell, Mr. Grierson, and Jamison all use both physical and verbal abuse along with fear to alienate their victims.
It has been demonstrated that Bob Ewell from To Kill a Mockingbird was an abusive alcoholic who his children feared. He was not close to being a good father figure for his children did not even go to school. A perfect example of how much his children feared him would be the example in the court with Mayella, his daughter. In the court, Mayella Ewell was clearly lying to support her father’s accusation. It is suggested, “Bob Ewell was willing to make false and potentially deadly accusations and willing to eventually attack two innocent children”(R. Evans 103). This clearly proves how controlling Mr. Ewell can be, especially since Mayella was evidently scared to speak for herself. This is a perfect example to show how Mayella is isolated.
Bob Ewell was certainly the greatest perpetrator in the whole book of To Kill A Mockingbird. To commence, Bob Ewell is a major perpetrator throughout the course of the story, especially to his daughter Mayella.This can be shown by the fact that he seems to sexually abuse his daughter. It's implied, “Bob Ewell manages to pervert Mayella so thoroughly by the trial that he almost turns her in some ways into a carbon copy of himself. Ewell may or may not sexually assault his daughter (although this possibility is strongly implied), but he clearly helps to corrupt her ethics” (R. Evans 104 ). This evidence can infer that Bob Ewell has such a tight grip on controlling his daughter
Not only was Bob Ewell cruel to his own children, he was cruel to other children and adults as well. The same way he tried to kill Scout and Jem on that dark night. It is voiced, “Bob develops from an obviously bad man (willing to abuse his own adolescent daughter and then put an innocent man's life at risk) to something even worse: a lurking potentially murderous assailant who threatens and stalks utterly defenseless children” (R. Evans 106). One can only imagine what happens in his household behind closed doors with his own family. Bob Ewell was extremely abusive mentally and physically; however he didn’t reach his peak of abuse until he discovers that Mayella having an affair with a black man, Tom Robinson. ”Well, Mayella was raisin‘ this holy racket so I dropped m’load and run as fast as I could but I run into th’ fence, but when I got distangled I run up to th‘ window and I seen—” Mr. Ewell’s face grew scarlet. He stood up and pointed his finger at Tom Robinson. “—I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella!” (H. Lee 92)
Bob Ewell shows no respect to anyone, nor does he care what anyone thinks. It is brought to our attention, “Miss Stephanie Crawford delights in telling Scout and Jem when Bob Ewell spits in Atticus's face” (R. Best 545). Bob clearly is not affected by anything he says since he continues to act with his careless mentality. He is clearly not fit to have the role of a father figure. These examples show Bob Ewell is the main perpetrator of To Kill A Mockingbird.
Mr. Grierson is another parent who isolates his daughter from the community, Emily. For example, he does not let Emily have any relation with any guy. As said in the book, “We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will” (W. Faulkner 1070). Every suitor that came for Emily, Mr. Grierson had rejected. This shows how controlling her father was and how he tries to isolate Emily. Him being overprotective scared away many young men who wanted a chance with his daughter. One can say Emily was actually cut off from the real world.
When the story began, Emily’s mother had already passed away, therefore Emily was already starting to isolate herself. However, when her father died one can really tell how much Mr. Grierson controlled her. When he died she had no order which one can infer due to her wanting to keep her father's dead body. She had always been influenced by her fathers judgements but he was now gone. One believes that if not for Homer, Emily would’ve probably killed herself. The relationship between Emily and Homer definitely kept her sane.
Lastly, there is Jamison who appears to be a kind respectful father figure. While his first impression to Kira may have seemed pretty genuine, there was a lot more she did not know behind that man who she later discovered tried killing her father. However, Kira’s father was not the only person Jamison tried killing, he also sent Annabella to be killed. As one can see with his murder attempts he is clearly a violent man. Jamison was more of a tyrant than a father figure. It is most especially shown when we see he locks Jo in her room until she masters “The Ruin Song”.
After reading this story it is distinctly shown how cruel of a person Jamison actually is. After all, he does treat Jo, a young little girl like a prisoner. “ why was this small tyke locked in a room all alone? I will come back, she called softly through the door. Will you bring me mum? The little voice was so close to the keyhole” ( L. Lowry 61). He abused these children mentally to a great extent. Most of all, he took away their loved ones which can’t ever be replaced. He was a scary man who had no heart and did anything he could to benefit make himself look good. Luckily, Kira caught up and realized soon enough.
In conclusion, all these perpetrators share many of the same characteristics. They were all in fact abusive whether it was sexually, verbally and or physically. Each perpetrator were single and always seemed to isolate their daughter. Maybe they did this all to cope with the fact that they had no wife. “Though the narrative is seen through the eyes of a young person and reveals childlike naiveré and humor, it also demonstrates how perceptive and insightful a child’s viewpoint can be, indeed sometimes achieving more skillful and penetrating observations than those attained by adults” (R. Evans 111)
- Best, Rebecca H. “ ‘Panopticism and the Use of ‘the Other’ in To Kill a Mockingbird.’”
- Evans, Robert C, editor. “Unlikely Duos: Paired Characters in To Kill a Mockingbird.” Unlikely Duos: Paired Characters in To Kill a Mockingbird, 2018.
- Fordham, Fred, and Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.
- Lowry, Lois. Gathering Blue. Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
- Polk, Noel, and William Faulkner. A Rose for Emily. Harcourt College Publishers, 2000.