Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters 25-31
Life in Maycomb appears to return to its customary style and the incident
with Tom becomes history. Scout is very upset that the news of Tom's death
was so insignificant to the townspeople. In fact, after a classroom discussion
of Adolf Hitler and his treatment of the Jews,
Scout is struck by the hypocrisy of many of Maycomb's residents. While condemning
Hitler for being prejudiced and genocidal, the same people act racist and
It would appear that Bob Ewell has not forgotten his grudge against some
of Maycomb's citizens, including Judge Taylor and Helen Robinson who works
for Link Deas. One time, Link overhears Ewell threatening Helen and he warns
him that he will have him arrested if he doesn't leave Helen alone. After
that she has no further trouble. These events trouble Aunt Alexandra, because
she realizes that Ewell seems to have a grudge against everyone connected
with the case.
In the meantime, Scout prepares for a Halloween night presentation at her
school. She plans to wear a bulky pig costume, one the severely limits her
vision. While returning home from the school pageant, Jem and Scout are attacked.
Jem's arm is broken, and a stranger carries him home. Scout cannot see what
is happening due the darkness and her constrictive costume.
Afterwards, a search of the area by the local officials turns up Bob Ewell's
dead body. As Heck Tate and Atticus listen, Scout tells them what happened
to her and Jem, ending by pointing to the man who had carried Jem home, who
she realizes is Boo Radley. Atticus assumes that it was Jem who stabbed Bob
Ewell, but the sheriff tells Atticus that he intends to report that Ewell
fell on his own knife. Atticus is sure that the sheriff is trying to protect
Jem, until it finally dawns on him that it was actually Boo Radley who killed
Scout walks Boo Radley home, and then returns to her house to see Atticus
sitting by her
unconscious brother, as the novel ends.
Tom's death is not a big issue and only receives a short obituary in the
"Colored News". The town insists on believing that Tom's run at
escape is typical of his race and insist that the jury made the right decision.
Mr. Underwood decides to make an editorial in his newspaper, writing about
that killing a crippled man like Tom Robinson is like killing a mockingbird.
The aftermath of the trial is still felt by the children and even permeates
their classrooms. The discussion about Hitler in Scout's class shows how warped
some people are when it comes to the topic of prejudice. Miss Gates, their
teacher tells the class how bad Hitler is and how lucky they are to live in
a democracy. Scout overhears Miss Gates tell Stephanie Crawford that the decision
against Tom Robinson was a good thing because it would teach the blacks in
town their proper place. Scout wonders how anyone can be so hypocritical as
Mr. Link Deas is shown as being another member of the Maycomb community who
believes in equality and fairness and is not afraid to take a stand against
Mr. Ewell is seen as being a threat to people.
Chapter 28 marks the beginning of the novel's climax. The three things of
interest that Scout tells happened during the fall, involve Bob Ewell and
act to foreshadow that Ewell is serious about his earlier threats to get even
with Atticus. This provides the reader with clues to the resolution.
After hearing Scout they realize that Mr. Ewell was trying to attack
Scout and Jem as a way to get revenge on Atticus. They also realize that the
man who carried Jem home and saved their lives is Boo Radley.
Everyone goes to the porch to talk about the incident. Atticus thinks Jem
stabbed Mr. Ewell for self defense, while Mr. Tate thinks he fell on his own
knife. Atticus protests at first and thinks the sheriff is trying to cover
up for Jem. Atticus realizes that it is not Jem, the sheriff wants to protect.
Boo Radley, not Jem, stabbed Mr. Ewell. Mr. Tate wants to protect Boo from
going to court because of the publicity and he knows how Boo is. Mr. Tate
says putting Boo on trial is like killing a mockingbird.
Now Scout's dream of getting Boo out of his house is fulfilled.
Scout lets Boo have one last look at Jem and then takes him by the arm back
to his house. Standing on the Radley porch for the first time in her life,
Scout can see as she never could before how the neighborhood, and her own
childish games, must have looked to Arthur Radley, how he must have watched
with shy curiosity, and enjoyed seeing their amazement when they found his
small gifts hidden in the knothole of the oak tree. Years later, when Bob
Ewell attacked the children under that same tree, Arthur Radley must have
felt a special obligation to protect them.
Returning home, Scout finds her father sitting up reading a book of Jem's
called The Gray Ghost. Atticus refuses at first to read aloud to her. The
story is a scary one, he says, and Scout has had enough scary experiences
for one day. But Scout is not afraid. "Nothin's real scary except in
books," she tells Atticus. Scout never sees Mr. Arthur Radley ever again.