28 and 31
Maycomb starts to settle down and even Bob Ewell obtains a job, but this
progress is short-lived as he loses it within days for being lazy. Of course he blames Atticus for the loss of his job.
Tom Robinson’s old boss Link Deas decides to give Helen a job, but Bob Ewell
stalks her shouting abuse at her, causing Link Deas to step in and put a stop to it. Another incident causing Ewell more anger.
Bob Ewell now turns his attention to Judge Taylor, trying to break into his
The ladies of Maycomb decide to organize a Halloween Pageant and Scout is
assigned the part of a ham.
She has a big costume constructed out of chicken wire to wear, but she needs help in getting out of it. Atticus and Aunt Alexandra are tired and they persuade Jem to accompany Scout to the Pageant and bring her home. Aunt Alexandra has reservations about allowing the children to go on their own, but she relents in the end.
It is a pitch-black night and on their way to the Pageant, Cecil Jacobs
jumps out at Jem and Scout and frightens them.
Scout is tired and falls asleep inside her costume waiting for her cue,
which she, of course, misses. When she does awake, she leaps onto the stage right at the end of the Pageant causing the audience to laugh at her silliness.
To save her embarrassment she decides that she wishes to stay inside her costume until she gets home.
As they walk home, Jem hears something unusual and tells Scout to be very
quiet. He thinks someone is following them. Then a scuffle occurs and Scout hears Jem scream. She can see very little from her costume and she trips and falls over. Suddenly she feels
a vice-like grip around her as someone crushes her inside her costume.
Something tears at the metal mesh and she hears struggling behind her. Then Jem breaks free and drags her to the road before their assailant pulls him back. Scout hears a crunching sound and then Jem screams. Suddenly she is attacked again, but her attacker is pulled away and she realizes that someone else has joined the affray. The noise of the struggle suddenly ceases and Scout feels along the ground for Jem, but only finds the prone figure of an unshaven man who smells of alcohol. She staggers back towards her home and ahead of her she sees a man carrying Jem towards her house. When she arrives, she finds Aunt Alexandra already calling for Dr. Reynolds and Atticus calls Sheriff Tate, telling him that someone has attacked his children.
Scout is concerned that Jem is dead, but the doctor confirms that he is just
unconscious and has a broken arm.
When Scout goes in to see her brother she notices a strange man sitting in the corner. Scout tells the Sheriff what she heard and saw and he notices knife marks on her costume. When she gets to the part of the story where Jem is picked up and carried home, she turns to look at the strange man in the corner. He is pale wearing torn clothes and Scout realizes that it is Boo Radley. She takes ‘Mr. Arthur’ down to the porch and they sit on the swing together listening to Atticus and Sheriff Tate argue.
Sheriff says he is going to treat this as an accident, but Atticus
thinking that it is Jem who killed Bob Ewell doesn’t want him to
protect his son. The Sheriff corrects him saying that Boo killed
Ewell, not Jem, and he does not need the attention of the neighborhood
brought to his door.
Tom Robinson died for no reason Sheriff Heck says, and now the man
responsible is dead ‘Let the dead bury the dead’.
Scout takes Boo up to say goodnight to Jem and then she walks him home.
She never sees him again, and for a moment she tries to wear his skin and
see the world from his perspective.
She finds comfort sitting on Atticus’ lap who reads to her as she falls
The novel so far has dealt with the mischievous playing of three children in
the sleepy town of Maycomb. It then goes on to cover a courtroom drama involving prejudice, suspense and passion. The book finishes off with a mystery concerning the death of Bob Ewell.
Ewell tried to use the circumstances of the trial to better his family’s
station in the community. Unfortunately, the community did not believe his story, but because he was white, they had to sustain it by finding Tom Robinson guilty.
So, far from improving his station, he has been shown to be foolish and dishonest. To add insult to injury, Link Deas, who employed Tom’s widow, accuses him of having a romantic interest in her.
The night of the pageant is heavy with foreboding from the pitch-black night
to Cecil Jacobs’ attempt to frighten the children, and the apprehension Aunt Alexandra has just before they leave home.
The pageant itself gives a brief, light relief to the impending doom hanging over the children. The comical costume, which Scout wears, a giant ham, will soon turn into a cage from which she cannot escape as it is crushed around her. As the children walk home a mood of mounting suspense is apparent, especially when the noise of their pursuer turns out not to be the returning Cecil Jacobs. The attack is all the more terrifying as it takes place so close to their home. Because of the restricting costume, which she is wearing, Scout has no idea what is happening.
Boo Radley’s intervention clearly saves the children’s lives, but Scout does
not realize the identity of their savior until she reaches home.
When she does realize who has saved her, the childhood phantom transforms into a human being. After Boo’s unveiling all that remains of the story is Sheriff Heck Tate’s decision that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife, sparing Boo Radley the horror of publicity.
The title of the book and its central theme are brought to life as Scout
says that exposing Boo to the public eye would be ‘sort of like shooting a mockingbird’. She takes Boo home and Atticus’ theory that you can only understand somebody by wearing his or her skin has come to life
in his daughter when she said this.
The novel ends here and the reader is offered no details of
Scout’s future, but we know that Boo is never seen again. However, we can assume that the events of the last three years have a dramatic effect on the rest of her life, and that she does not have much more to
learn ‘except possibly Algebra’.