In To Kill a Mockingbird, the Ewell family is full of small children being raised by the eldest sister, Mayella Ewell, and nominally supported by the abusive father, Bob Ewell. It's said in the book that Mayella can't remember her mother. That means that Mayella must have been very young when her mother died. Well then, where did all these small children come from...oh. OH.
It's no accident, Tom Robinson actually states that Mayella told him "what her Pa do to her don't count" while trying to seduce him.
He said she told him this while asking him to kiss her. Kids reading may think she was talking about innocent "good night" kisses or the like, but re-reading the novel years later would make them realise that Bob Ewell isn't the kind of father who gives good-night kisses and that, at nineteen (and a half), Mayella Ewell is too old for goodnight kisses anyway. This may have been done intentionally by Lee to shield children from the implications of Parental Incest.
There's also the description of Mayella as "heavyset". Granted, that could just be her body type, period, but it could also be the result of pregnancies.
After telling this to my sister, she came up with two alternate theories: 1.Mrs. Ewell died in a horrible way, and Mayella tried to forget the trauma or 2. Bob's been sleeping around.
If Bob were sleeping around he would leave the children with their respective mothers. He is not the type of person who would bring the kids home with him. Also why don't the mothers ever visit the children?
There's also the fact that when Tom says Mayella told him "what her Daddy do to her don't count" in court yet it is not followed up, not even by Atticus. Unfortunatly it is Truth in Television that at the time children who accused their parents of any type of abuse where often seen as lying to some end unless there was other evidence.
The whole thing is Truth in Television according to Collin Willcox Paxton, who played Mayella. She actually came from that area and has stated it was taken for granted that by the time girls were ten or twelve, they would have been raped/molested, usually by a family member.
An even MORE horrifying prospect: When he attacked the Finch children, what do you want to bet that there was a very real possibility Ewell would have raped Scout before killing her?
Atticus also probably fought in World War I. No wonder he never spoke about his skill with a rifle.
He wasn't a veteran but an expert hunter. He stopped because he was so good he felt it wasn't fair to the animals.
One of the gifts Boo Radley gives Jem and Scout is what appears to be a war medal. Given his age and that the story takes place in the early 1930s the only war it could have been would be World War I. If Boo is a War Veteran his odd behavior might be explained by Shell Shock or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
That was a spelling medal. In the book, Miss Maudie tells Boo's whole story. He was a completely normal child, an excellent student and could have gone to college. As a teenager he and some friends committed a semi-delinquent prank. Boo's father (a highly religious man) said he would discipline him rather than have him serve 30 days in jail. He confined his son to the basement. Boo was never allowed to leave the house again. That's why he acts the way he does.