To Kill A Mockingbird, Chapters 21-25
Group Members: Chad Sell, Lauren Bechtel, Allison Hausman, Courtney Allen
Chapter 21 (206-211) (Chad)
Chapter 21 starts out with Calpurnia walking up to the railing in the courthouse and requesting to give Atticus a note from Aunt Alexandra. The note states that Jem and Scout have been missing since noon. As Atticus tries to explain the situation to Judge Taylor, Mr. Underwood interrupts him and tells him that they have been sitting up in the colored balcony since the beginning of the trial. Atticus calls them down and the court is adjourned. Jem is confident that the jury will not find Tom Robinson guilty, but Atticus knows that the jury will probably convict Tom Robinson of the rape just because he is black. However, Atticus does not tell this to Jem. I believe that Atticus wants Jem to learn for himself that not everybody is as accepting of blacks as Atticus has taught him and Scout to be. Calpurnia marches Jem, Scout, and Dill (who was with them) home, ranting and raving at them (especially Jem) for going to the courthouse and listening to the trial. Scout is exhilarated after everything that happened and also partly that Jem was getting ripped into instead of her for once. Jem, however, is unashamed, and chuckles, asking Calpurnia if she wants to hear about it. When they arrived home and Aunt Alexandra is told where they were, she almost faints, and Scout senses that she isn't happy with Atticus's decision to let them return after supper.

The three kids return to the courthouse following supper and are surprised to see it exactly how they left it. Jem went into a discussion with Reverend Sykes about why he was so confident the jury would not find Tom Robinson guilty. Reverend Sykes is doubtful and says, "Now don't you be so confident, Mr. Jem, I ain't ever seen any jury decide in favor of a colored man over a white man...". The time went by slowly, with everyone in the courthouse staying stock still except the present officers, who were acting quite normal. As Scout fights off sleep, she begins to receive an impression that is similar to when she shivered even though the night was hot. Finally, Mr. Tate announces that the court will come to order. After this, everything seems to be a dreamlike quality for Scout, as she watches the jury file in. With her eyes tightly shut, she hears the "guilty...guilty...guilty" coming from the jury as Judge Taylor polls them. In a daze, she watches her father collect his briefcase and papers, and walk out. Reverend Sykes's voice seemed as distant as everything else and told her that her father was passing. With that, they left the courthouse.

Character RelationsGroup_of_Smiley_Faces.jpg
-Jem (son)
-Scout (daughter)
-Aunt Alexandra (sister)
-Calpurnia (Negro cook, almost a mother to Jem and Scout) Vocab_Comic.jpg
Reverend Sykes (Negro minister)
-Friend of Jem and Scout
-Calpurnia's minister

external image moz-screenshot.jpg
acquit- v. to relieve from a charge of fault or crime; declare not guilty
As used in book: "You think they'll acquit him that fast?" asked Jem. (pg. 207)
indignant- adj. feeling, characterized by, or expressing strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, or insulting
As used in book: The streetlights were on, and we glimpsed Calpurnia's indignant profile as we passed beneath them. (pg. 207)
tacit- adj. understood without beeing openly expressed; implied
As used in book: Jem went in grinning, and Calpurnia nodded tacit consent to havind Dill in to supper. (pg. 208)

How did this trial effect the young lives of Jem and Scout?

First off, they were saddened to see their father lose a case. Jem and Scout viewed Atticus as the perfect father; that he could never fail at anything. To see their father lose a case that was so important to him frustrated and saddened them. Also, the verdict hit both of them hard. They both know, because of the way Atticus raised them, what is wrong and right. The fact that the jury (and on the jury, people they recognize) convicted Tom Robinson of a crime he didn't commit, destroyed their view on the way other people thought. I think that up to this point, Jem and Scout believed that most people were like them: they didn't let the color of people affect their judgment. However, the trial's verdict shook Scout and Jem's world.

external image seersuckatticus510.jpg

Tom Robinson and the Verdict
In Tom Robinson eyes, there was no hope for his release until Atticus came along. Atticus instilled hope into Tom and the court’s verdict shattered all of it. In Maycomb’s point of view, the whole drama of Tom Robinson and Bob Ewell is over. They got the result they wanted, a black man convicted of a crime that they all could see he did not commit. It was not as if the people of Maycomb liked Bob Ewell, they hated the Ewell’s guts! The people of Maycomb had a general dislike of black people, the racism they grew up with inhabited their every thought during the whole trial. Poor Tom Robinson was yanked into the midst of this town’s racism because of the one person he “felt sorry” for: Mayella Ewell. As soon as Tom heard Bob Ewell yelling outside the window on that fateful day, he knew his days were numbered. He constantly thought about the day when he would be convicted of a crime he did not commit, and he awaited it with dreaded expectation. This verdict ended life as he knew it. Even though Atticus tells him he will appeal, Tom Robinson believes he needs to take matters into his own hands, as a later chapter reveals.

external image Lion_waiting_in_Nambia.jpg
Showing Courage
Jem displays exceptional courage in this chapter. He does not express it, and most likely does not realize he is being courageous, but the courage is there. Jem was overconfident that the jury would not find Tom Robinson guilty, and to him, the facts seemed obvious and he saw no possible way the jury could decide the opposite. Scout describes that at each "guilty...guilty...guilty" Jem shakes, as if receiving a blow. To Jem, the impossible was happening. No way could they be declaring Tom Robinson guilty after what he had just heard. However, he did not count on people's racism. This was extremely hard for Jem, and it took a lot of courage to stand up and walk away from that courthouse.

Chapter 22 {Pages: 212-217} (Lauren)

This chapter starts after the conclusion of the trial, with Jem and Scout finding their way to Atticus.

Jem bursts out with a cry of “It ain’t right, Atticus!” to which Atticus responds, “No son, it’s not right.” When they get home, Jem speaks up again and asks his father how the jury could convict Tom Robinson, but Atticus cannot find an answer. "I don't know, but they did it. They've done it before, and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it -seems that only the children weep." Tiredly, the family goes to bed. When they get up the next morning, they find that Calpurnia fixed them chicken for breakfast. This was surprising because meat was expensive, and they rarely ate it for breakfast. After finding rolls on his plate along with the chicken, Atticus asks “Gracious alive, Cal, what’s all this?” She walks to the kitchen and shows them mounds of food, enough to “bury the family.” Families of Maycomb who supported Atticus’s trial had delivered food to the back steps, in a quiet attempt to thank him for his efforts. Atticus's eyes tear up at the sight of the generous offerings.

Later in the day, the children go see Miss Maudie and have a conversation with her about the trial. She advises Jem by saying, “Don’t fret, things are never as bad as they seem.” Settling the children around her, she says “"I simply want to tell you that there are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father's one of them." The townsfolk rely on Atticus to do the right thing. Jem doesn’t believe her, but she explains herself by saying “Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident? That Judge Taylor might have had his reasons for naming him?” Jem pauses, realizing that normally the case would have been assigned to a lesser lawyer. Miss Maudie continues, “As I waited I thought, Atticus Finch won't win, he can't win, but he's the only man in theses parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And I thought to myself, well, we're making a step - its just a baby-step, but its a step."

"Yes sir, a clown"

The somber group eventually makes their way outside, where Dill spontaneously spouts out that he wants to become a clown. The following conversation ensues:
“Yes sir, a clown” he said “There ain’t one thing in this world I can do about folks except laugh, so I’m gonna join the circus and laugh my head off.”
“You got it backwards, Dill” Jem said, “Clowns are sad, its folks that laugh at them.”
“Well, I’m gonna be a new kind of clown. Im gonna stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks.”

His rant was interrupted by the excited prattle of Miss Stephanie, and the chapter ends with the children being informed that Bob Ewell spat in Atticus’s face, telling him “He’d get him if it took the rest of his life.”

Chapter 23: Pages 217-227 (Allison)


furtive- sly; shifty

"Nobody has much chance to be FURTIVE in Maycomb." pg. 218

indignant- feeling, characterized by, or expressing strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, insulting, or base

"You mean women in Alabama can't-" I was INDIGNANT pg. 221

sordid- Filthy or dirty; foul

"I guess it's to protect our frail ladies from SORDID cases like Tom's." pg 221
vehement: full of emotion and strong feeling
"I looked up and his face was VEHEMENT" pg. 223

  • The chapter begins just after word has reached Jem and Scout about Mr. Ewells encounter with Atticus. Atticus had run into Bob Ewell at the post office and Mr. Ewell had spat tobacco in Atticus’s face, cussed at him, and threatened to take revenge on him. There are many views on this situation.

external image SmileyFace.jpgAtticus:Seems to be the only one that isn't worried even though he is the one who should have the most concern. Afterall, it is his life that was threatened. Atticus believes that Mr. Ewell got all of his anger out that day and that he won't act on his actions any further. He says "I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I'd rather it be me than that houseful of children out there." Atticus, being the perfect character that he is, shows so much compassion for the Ewells. Events later on prove that Atticus really underestimated Bob Ewell.

external image sad.jpgJem (and Scout): Show a lot of fear for their father. Jem and Scout both act beside themselves, not eating, taking little interest in normal activities, and dragging around. Jem and Scout’s feelings of fear vanish after the discussion they had with Atticus and Aunt Alexandra and when Atticus says “Nobody has much chance to be furtive in Maycomb.”

external image Worried.pngAunt Alexandra: Has the opposite view of Atticus as she does on many things. She does not believe that Mr. Ewell “got it all out of his system that morning”. She says “I wouldn’t be so sure of that, Atticus. His kind’d do anything to pay off a grudge. You know how those people are.” She believes that Mr. Ewell will with out a doubt do something “furtive” to Atticus. In the end, Aunt Alexandra was right about the situation.

external image smooth-star.jpg

  • After the discussion about Bob Ewell, Atticus updates the family on Tom Robinson. He assured the children that nothing would happen to Tom until the higher court reviewed the case and that he thinks Tom has a good chance of getting set free. If the case is not appealed, however, he will be sent to the 'chair'. Tom's current location is Enfield Prison Farm about 70 miles form Chester County and his family is not permitted to see him.

Tom Robinson
Tom Robinson

  • Jem and Atticus get into a discussion over Tom Robinson's punishment. Jem doesn't feel that death should be given to Tom, even if he was in fact guilty. He says "I know its not right, but I can't figure out wha's wrong- maybe rape shouldn't be a capital offense." After the debate about capital punishment, Jem decides that it all points back to the juries. He says "Then it all goes back to the jury, then. We oughta do away with juries." Jem wonders why people like himself and Miss Maudie can't be on juries. Jem realizes that no one from Maycomb ever sits on juries. Atticus explains that Miss Maudie is a woman and isn't allowed to be on the jury and he also says " With people like us- that's our share of the bill. We generally get the juries we desere. Our stout Maycomb citizens aren't interested, in the first place. In the second place, they're afraid." The children also find out that a Cunningham was the one person that kept the jury out for so long. He wanted Tom Robinson to be innocent.

external image trashcanc_small.gifWhat is "Trash?"

Upon finding out that a Cunningham had made a step in the right direction Scout is compelled in invite Walter Cunningham over for lunch. Aunt Alexandra DOES NOT approve. She hints at her opinion without coming out and saying it, but eventually she blurts out "Because- he- is- trash, that's why you can't play with him. I'll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what. You're enough of a problem to your father as it is." This makes Scout burst into tears and she runs to her room where Jem comforts her.

Atticus has a different opinion of what trash his. He says
"As you grow older you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it- whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash."

Scout looks at trash as someone such as the Ewells.

Jem's Social Ladder

In Chapter 23 Jem thinks that he has figured out the various ranks of people in Maycomb. He sets it up like this:

1.)"People Like Us and the Neighbors"- Don't like people like the Cunninghams

2.)"People like the Cunninghams Out in the Woods"- Don't like people like the Ewells. Always pay back what they borrow

3.)"People like the Ewells Down by the Dump" -Don't like colored people and are looked down upon by most

4.) Colored People - Discriminated against by many and mistreated regularly.

In the social ladder, the groups of people also go in order by economic status

external image ladder699.gif
???Key Questions???
1.) Why does Bob Ewell threaten Atticus?

Attitcus shamed him in court. All of this dignity (if he had any) was lost during the trial. He needed to get back at Atticus, his kind always does, as Aunt Alexandra says.
2.) Why is Atticus not conerned?
He thinks that Bob Ewell is all talk and that we won’t do anything about his emotions.
3.)What will happen if Tom's appeal is not passed?
He will be sent to the electric chair. Rape was a capital offense in Alabama in the 1930’s.

4.) Why does Cunningham hold out in the jury?
This is an arguable topic. Some people may say that he wants to do something for Atticus because he owes him for all of the things that Atticus has done for him. Others may think that he just had a change of heart and decided to do what he knew was right.
5.) Why does Jem say Boo doesn't come out?

Jem steps back and looks at the world. The thinks Boo doesn't come out because he really doesn't want to.

What's up with Boo Radley?
Boo Radley hasn't been mentioned for a few chapters, but he is brought up at the end of Chapter 23. Jem says "I think I'm begining to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time... it's because he wants to stay inside."

external image boo-radley1.jpg

Chaper 24 (Courtney)


1. Vocation (noun)- a particular occupation, business, or profession
I answered, grateful that Miss Stephanie was kind enough to change the subject. Hurriedly I began choosing my vocation. Nurse? Aviator? “Well…”

2. Impertinence (adjective)- intrusive or presumptuous, as persons or their actions; insolently rude; inappropriate; absurd
Miss Stephanie eyed me suspiciously, decided that I meant no impertinence, and contented herself with, “Well, you won’t get very far until you start wearing dresses more often.”

3. Squalor (noun)- a filthy and wretched
condition or quality
“Jean Louise,” she said, “ you are a fortunate girl. You live in a Christian home with Christian folks in a Christian town, Out there in J. Grimes Everett’s land there’s nothing but sin and squalor.”

4. Sibilant (adjective)- phonetics; characterized by a hissing sound
She had a curious habit of prefacing everything she said with a soft sibilant sound. “S-s-s Grace,” she said.

5. Devout (adjective)- devoted to divine worship or service; pious; religious
It was the general opinion of Maycomb, however, that Mrs. Merriweather had sobered him up and made a reasonably useful citizen of him. For certainly Mrs. Merriweather was the most devout lady in Maycomb.

The Beginning

While Jem is teaching Dill to swim, the chapter begins with the customary gatherings Aunt Alexandra has with her missionary circle. The ladies began their discussion on the topic of the Mrunas. Aunty of course objected to their lifestyles immediately because the children were given terrible ordeals at the mere age of thirteen as they were crawling with yaws and earworms. At this point of the meeting, it was time for refreshments and the ladies continued to prattle on various topics including the wonderful dewberry tarts.

Scout was given the opportunity to carry in the heavy silver pitcher which was quite allowance for a girl of her age, but it showed Calpurnia’s trust in her. She wore a pink Sunday dress that was accompanied with shoes and a petticoat. After completing her task with the pitcher, Scout was asked to stay with the group for the remainder of their discussions.

Immediately Scout was added to the discussion by Miss Stephanie asking, “Whatcha going to be when you grow up, Jean Louise? A lawyer?” She replied with “Nome” while quickly searching her brain for an occupation as Miss Stephanie took another opportunity make fun at her. The ladies laughed after Miss Stephanie said, “Why shoot, I though you wanted to be a lawyer, you’ve already commenced going to court.”

external image Smiley-Face.gifHUMOR
HUMOR- Miss Maudie mentions in the missionary circle how dressed up Scout was that day and asks where her britches are because that is what Scout normally is found wearing. Not intended to be funny, Scout replies, “Under my dress.” Kind Miss Maudie was the only of the ladies not to laugh at Scout’s innocent remark because she knew that Scout had not meant to be funny.

HUMOR- In the chapter, a sentence reads, "Her voice soared over the clink of coffee cups and the soft BOVINE sounds of the ladies munching their dainties." Bovine means cow like or anything to do with cows. In this sentence Harper Lee takes the liberty of making fun of the ladies there by saying that they ate like cows.

Neighbors attending the gathering

Aunt Alexandra- she attempted to make Scout into more of a lady by having her join the missionary circle and wear a nice dress
Miss Maudie- across the street from Scout; very nice and understanding of the children
Miss Stephanie- Dill’s Aunt
Mrs. Merriweather- the most devout lady in Maycomb/ eyes filled with tears when considering the oppressed; dramatic- uses child tone of voice
Miss. Rachel- is said to be as sober as a judge
Mrs. Farrow- a splendidly built woman with pale eyes and narrow feet; 2nd most devout lady; uses sibilant sound when she talks
Also Mrs. Gates and Mrs. Perkins were present.

Figurative Language

Sober as a judge (simile)- used to describe Miss. Rachel
Played her voice like an organ; every word she said recieved its full measure. (simile)- Mrs. Merriweather talking about the Mrunas

external image MaryBadham.jpg

Scouts view of women

They seem to live in faint horror of men, and seemed not willing to approve wholeheartedly of them. She said that there was something about them, no matter how much they cussed and drank and gambled and chewed; no matter how undelectable they were, there was something about them that she instinctively liked… they weren’t hypocrites.


In chapter 24, you get the southern view of northerners in their one conversation. Mrs. Merriweather exclaims, “At least we don’t have that sin on our shoulders down here. People up there set ‘em free, but you don’t see ‘em settin’ at the table with ‘em. At least we don’t have the deceit to say to ‘em yes you’re as good as we are but stay away from us. Down here we just say you live your way and we’ll live yours. I think that woman, that Mrs. Roosevelt’s lost her mind- just plain lost her mind coming down to Birmingham and tryin’ to sit with ‘em.” This simply shows how much the southerners truly blamed the north for their freeing of the slaves, but even more so the way that they don’t even associate with the people they earlier proclaimed their equal.
external image Atticus%2Band%2BScout_to_kill_a_mockingbird.jpg


Elements of foreshadowing are also present in this chapter. Scout mentions how Calpurnia had said that Tom was taking things pretty bad and there was nothing Atticus could do to make his life as a prisoner any easier for him. She also mentioned Tom Robinson saying, “Good-bye, Mr. Finch, there ain’t nothin’ you can do now, so there ain’t no use tryin’.” These are very literal forms of foreshadowing because it tells you in advance just how bad Tom is doing right now and opening up the realm of possibilities for bad things to occur to him.

Another bit of foreshadowing in this chapter occurred when Atticus comes home early. That on top of the fact that his face is a very pale white leads you to believe that something is not normal. Because normality is not present this evening you can predict that something terribly wrong has happened, and in this case you’d be right.

external image tom.jpg

Atticus delivers the oppressive news explaining how it happened to Miss Maudie, Aunty, Calpurnia, and Scout listened with attentive ears. He depicted how Tom had attempted to run during the exercise period. Tom tried to climb the fence but was shot 17 times saying that if he had had two good arms there would have been a good chance of Tom escaping. This shows how hopeless Tom was with his current predicament and decided he had no other options, but to escape what he was sure would condemn him in the following weeks.

After Atticus departs with Calpurnia on their way to Mrs. Robinson’s house, Aunty breaks down. She says how though she can’t approve of it, she just wants it to end for him. Aunt Alexandra thinks that the case and the stress that comes along with it tears him to pieces. She continues to ask questions like, “ what more do they want from him?” Aunt Alexandra in one of the few times in the entire book shows compassion for her brother, not just a project that she wants to make better.

This is the resolution to the Tom Robinson plot. At this point, all of the problems that occurred on behalf of the trial and Tom Robinson's doings are absent. Now it does not matter what happens in the court in an attempt to free him and Atticus is in essence off the case. The verdict no longer matters because there is no one there to convict, he is dead. Atticus no longer has to feel singled out as a lawyer for a black man because the subject is gone forever.

Courage external image lion.jpg *Atticus obviously shows courage when he comes home with the news of Tom’s death. He could have been torn to pieces and locked himself in his room, but instead he faces the problem by attempting to tell his wife. Because this is something he worked so hard for, it is difficult for him to face the fact that it’s over and he did free this man. However, in all the troubles, he shows courage by doing the right thing and informing his family and trying to overcome such a huge blow.

*In my opinion, Aunt Alexandra shows the most courage in this chapter. Upon hearing the news of Tom’s death, she has a minor breakdown in the kitchen, however she quickly composes herself for the many women awaiting her in the living room. This shows that even though Aunt Alexandra is in a time of pure horror after hearing the news, she still courageiously can be a lady and face the others with a smile on her face.

*Scout does the same thing after hearing that Tom is dead. She does what bit of composing she can and walks side by side with her Aunt into the room with the ladies without showing a sign of sadness. Scout says, “After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.”

Chapter 25 (All, but counted as Courtney's!) {Pages 238-241}


veneer- n. a thin layer of wood or other material for facing or inlaying wood
Just shows you, that Robinson boy was legally married, they say he kept himself clean, went to church and all that, but when it comes down to the line the veneer's mighty thin. (pg. 240)

varmint- n. an objectionable or undesirable animal
A roly-poly had found his way inside the house; I reasoned that the tiny varmint had crawled up the steps and under the door. (pg. 238)

Demise- n. death or decease
Maycomb had lost no time in getting Mr. Evell's views on Tom's demise and passing them along through that English Channel of gossip, Miss Stephanie Crawford. (pg. 241)

Jem's adult outlook

In the beginning of chapter 25, there is a scene where Scout attempts to smash a bug but Jem won’t let him. This is important because it shows that Jem is maturing and starting to take the adult view on a lot of different things. Scout thinks that this change in Jem’s personality is him becoming more of a girl than she is, and she hopes that this is only a stage that he will quickly pass through.

Visiting Helen

The main event in this chapter is Atticus visiting Helen because Tom Robinson was shot and killed. Dill and Jem were walking when they saw Atticus driving towards them. Atticus told them to catch a ride back because he was going to be gone for a while, but they protested, then pleaded, and Atticus let them come along. In the car , which Calpurnia sat in the back seat, Atticus explained what had happened to Dill and Jem. They turned into the Robinson's residence and Atticus asked one of the children playing in the yard, Sam, where his mother was. The boy goes and fetches Helen and the following ensues:

Sam was trotting behind his mother when they came up. Dill said Helen said, " 'evenin', Mr. Finch, won't you have a seat?" But she didn't say any more. Neither did Atticus.
"Scout," said Dill, "she just fell down in the dirt. Just fell down in the dirt, like a giant with a big foot just came along and stepped on her. Just ump-" Dill's fat foot hit the ground. "Like you'd step on an ant.
Dill said Calpurnia and Atticus lifted Helen to her feet and half carried, half walked her to the cabin. They stayed inside a long time, and Atticus came out alone. When they drove back by the dump, some of the Ewells hollered at them, but Dill didn't catch what they said.

Why did Helen faint without Atticus saying anything? There could have been many reasons. But most likely, Helen had been spending her days, awaiting the terrible day when her husband would be sentenced to death. Like Tom, when the court case was lost, she lost all hope and extremely doubted that the appeal would do any good. When she saw a solemn Atticus in her yard, she knew that the despairing day had come. This knowledge overwhelmed her and she fell to the ground. Helen was emotionally skewered throughout this experience: the cruelty of the Ewells, the racism of the townsfolk of Maycomb, the extreme kindness of her colored neighbors, and the unexpected courage of her lawyer and newfound friend: Atticus Finch. Atticus did not need to speak those words aloud when he came; Helen saw the cold, hard facts in his comforting eyes.

Mr. Underwood's Editorial

In his editorial, Mr. Underwood was basically allowed to print anything he wanted and he did just that. He printed an easily read paper that said how it was a sin to kill cripples in reference to Tom Robinson's death. This included whether or not the cripple was sitting, standing, or escaping. Comparing his death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds, it made people in Maycomb believe that he was trying to write a poetical article. Scout analyzes Mr. Underwood's words to mean that no matter who defended Tom, Atticus or another man, he was going to be considered guilty before a case was spoken. The exact moment Mayella Ewell screamed, claiming rape, Tom was a dead man due completely to the color of his skin and nothing else.