Through the next fall and winter, objects began to mysteriously appear in
the knot-hole of a tree on the corner of the Radley property: gum, then twine,
a carved soap sculpture, Indian-head pennies, and other treasures - gifts
clearly intended for Scout and Jem. Boo became even more of a puzzle.
The following summer, trouble cropped up over Atticus' recent appointment
as defense counsel for Tom Robinson, a Negro accused of raping a white girl,
Mayella Violet Ewell. The Ewells were the lowest family in Maycomb society.
But Mayella was white and Tom was black: no matter how trashy the girl might
be, her honor had to be upheld against a Negro. What angered many of the townspeople
most was Atticus's attempt to truly defend Tom.
Atticus and his children had several threats aimed at pressuring them to
let things stay as they'd always been in the South. But Atticus felt Tom was
innocent, and he would do all he could to prove it. "Every lawyer gets
at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally," he told
Scout. Nevertheless, he had to be realistic. They would probably lose, he
explained, because they had been "licked a hundred years before they
had even started",, but that was no reason not to try.
Atticus then extracted a promise from Scout not to fight her friends at school
- a difficult promise to keep. She heard her father called "nigger-lover,"
and she herself, for the first time in her life, was labeled a coward. But
Scout stayed true to her word; her father rarely asked for favors
Several other incidents occur in Maycomb. For the first time the town experiences
a severe snowstorm. That night, Miss Maudie's house catches on fire and burns
to the ground. The children have to leave their house because of the close
proximity of the fire. In her hurry to leave the house, Scout forgets to put
on her coat. Shivering in the cold, she finds a blanket suddenly thrust around
her shoulders. "We'd better keep ... the blanket to ourselves,"
Atticus gently said. "Someday, maybe, Scout can thank him for covering
her up." "Thank who?" Scout asked. "Boo Radley,"
replied her father. "You were so busy looking at the fire you didn't
know it when he put the blanket around you."
Another dilemma occurs when a mad dog enters the town. The children are surprised
when Atticus is called upon to shoot the animal as they had never associated
their father as being a sharp shooter.
Review: It becomes evident that the presenter of the gifts is Boo
Radley when his brother fills up the hole in the tree with cement. The reader
can surmise that Boo likes children and appears to be good natured.
The concept of bigotry is introduced when Francis calls Atticus a "nigger
lover" and when Atticus says that Tom Robinson doesn't have a chance
even though he is innocent because he will be tried in front of an all white
Scout and Jem realize that Atticus is relatively old and does not do all
the things Scout's schoolmate's fathers do. But after witnessing their father
shoot and kill old Tim Johnson who had gone mad, Atticus is a hero to them
and they are no longer embarrassed because of his age.
The incident of the dog, a threat to everyone in the community, brings momentary
unity as well as equality to the town. Everyone has the same concerns and
looks to Atticus for help. This dependency upon Atticus to safeguard the town
is seen throughout the story.