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To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter Notes 26-31

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Chapter 26-

We see how much Scout has grown up when she feels a twinge of remorse for the way in which they used to treat Boo Radley, but she is still fascinated by him and dreams of the day when she will meet him exchanging normal, everyday greetings as if they had done that everyday of their lives.

At school Scout’s teacher, Miss Gates, speaks with pride of the lack of prejudice in America, and condemns the “terrible” persecution of Jews since the beginning of history. Scout hears a conversation outside of the courtroom and cannot understand how Miss Gates can speak out against Hitler yet still support the treatment of the black community within her own town. When Scout discusses this with Jem, it hits a raw nerve as he is still very sensitive about the outcome of the trial.

Chapter 27-

Bob Ewell’s behaviour shows that he still bears a grudge against the people involved in the trial even though he won the case. We see his cowardice in the way he complains behind Atticus’s back, tries to break into Judge Taylor’s house when he thinks it’s empty, and harasses and verbally assaults Helen Robinson, who is vulnerable because she is black. Atticus understands that Ewell feels resentful because although he won the case, he looked foolish and didn’t gain any of the respect he thought he would. Atticus thinks these actions will have got it off Ewell’s chest and that that would be the end to it.

We are briefly reminded of the economic situation when Atticus explains to Scout that the National Recovery, which was part of President Roosevelt’s plan to help the country out of the depression, has been cancelled.

The amusing way the pageant and Scouts costume in particular are presented provides a contrast to the forthcoming events. The description of the costume heightens our awareness of the crucial role of the costume later on.

Tension mounts as Aunt Alexandra feels that something is wrong. AS Scout and Jem set out alone on their “longest journey together” we are prepared for danger to come.

Chapter 28-

The atmosphere is eerie and foreboding as the children walk through the ark past the Radley place. The reference to the mocking birds once again reminds us of lonely, innocent Boo. Jem and Scout laugh at their younger selves who believed in magic and spirits, but are still frightened when Cecil jumps out at them. This mock attack foreshadows the real attack that will follow.

We see the growing likeness between Jem and Atticus when Jem tries to reassure Scout about running off the stage at the wrong time.

We feel the tension as Jem thinks he hears someone following them and the children try to convince themselves its just their imaginations or Cecil Jacobs again. The children can’t see in the dark but can hear rustling, dragging, shuffling- they know they are being followed. The suddenness of the attack is effectively conveyed through short sentences and Scouts confusion can be felt through the scuffling, kicking, scraping, ripping

The man who saved them carries Jem home. We see Atticus’s and Aunt Alexandra’s panic and concern. Aunt Alexandra shows gentleness and sympathy as she carefully unwinds Scout form her wire and fabric. She is so concerned she gives Scout her overalls to wear- the clothes she most hates Scout wearing.

Scouts greatest concern is that Jem is dead, and she shows little curiosity about the man who bough Jem home. The chapter end dramatically with the news of Ewell’s death and the unexplained mystery of the man in the corner.

Chapter 29 –

We see Atticus and Aunt Alexandra under great strain. Aunt Alexandra blames herself for not acting on the feelings she had that something was going to happen, and Atticus never imagined that Bob Ewell would attack his children.

Scout tells Heck Tate what happened. Her account reflects the speed and confusion of the stack, especially her use of broken up sentences and phrases.

Scout also has her first view of Boo Radley and the first thing she notices is how white his skin is because of not going out of the house. Boo’s body language shows how uncomfortable he is to be out of his won house and Scout picks up on this, showing that her more sensitive side is maturing. The physical description of Boo shows he is very frail.

Chapter 30 –

Scout is now aware of Boo as a human being with his own needs. She notices the way in which Dr Reynolds greets him, and she understands when Atticus moves them to the porch away for the strong lights in the living room. Scout speaks to Boo in a friendly, polite way as if he were a normal visitor. She shows tact as she leads him to the rocking chair.

Atticus insists that Jem should face up to the consequences of what Atticus believes he has done, killing Bob. He thinks that hushing it up would be a denial of how he has brought up his children. If he bends the course of justice in this case, Atticus will lose both his self respect and the respect of his children. Heck stands up to Atticus and insists on taking responsibility for his actions. Heck knows it was Boo, but says that it would be a “sin” to put Boo through such an ordeal- once again reminding us of the mockingbird symbol, the central theme.

Atticus needs to know that Scout understands the reason for Ewell’s death being described as an accident. Scout’s reply shows how much she has come to understand Atticus’s humanitarian principles and Boo’s shy, innocent nature.

Chapter 31-

Scout is sensitive to Boo’s expressions and gestures. She knows when Boo wants to touch Jem, and she knows when Boo wants to leave. When she takes Boo home we she her tact and understanding as she makes it seem as if he is escorting her home and not the other way around.

Standing on the Radley Porch Scout puts herself in Boo’s shoes for a moment. She sees Boo watching his children trough all the seasons, from their early games to the moment of attack, when he saves there lives. Scout feels sad that they gave Boo no gifts in return.

Atticus’s last words in the novel are that most people are nice when you finally see them, once again demonstrating his great faith in humanity, even after recent events.

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