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Free Study Guide-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee-Free BookNotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 14

Summary

Scout asks Atticus the meaning of rape and is given a perfunctory, yet technically correct answer. Further discussion discovers their trip to the blacks’ church. Aunt Alexandra is outraged at this. Later Scout overhears her father and her aunt discuss her. Aunt Alexandra feels that Calpurnia shouldn’t be allowed to work in the house anymore, but Atticus refuses to let her go. Jem advises Scout not to irritate their father as he has too many things in his mind. His advising her seems too high-handed for Scout, who ends up quarreling with him.

Scout discovers something warm and resilient on the floor, and together with Jem she discovers Dill under the bed. Atticus is immediately summoned, who insists on informing his Aunt Rachel about his escape. Dill stays there overnight, and Scout is pleased to have her friend back.

Notes

Aunt Alexandra reveals her narrow-minded puritan approach by her distress at the children attending Church with Calpurnia. Atticus, though, not in accordance with her, in any case does not allow Scout to be ill mannered with her, and insists on an apology from her. He is sensitive enough to insist on not throwing out Calpurnia, knowing full well her worth and the children’s proximity to her.


Jem, at a mature stage, seems to understand his father’s tensions and wishes to ease them as far as possible. His reasoning, however, is unheeded by Scout: Jem advising her is something she still cannot digest.

Dill’s return is a harbinger of better times for Scout. She hopes that the three of them can get together as they used to, and enjoy themselves.

Dill with all his fantastic stories, is a pathetic character; a child seeking love and attention, who builds up stories boost his self- esteem.

CHAPTER 15

Summary

Dill is given permission to stay at Scout’s house for the summer. One evening, as the family is relaxing, Heck Tate arrives with a few men. A discussion is held over the forthcoming trial, and whether Tom Robinson is safe in their custody. To the children it sounds like a fracas, but Atticus pacifies them. The next day, being a Sunday, is spent in Church, but in the evening Atticus declares that he is going out. In the night Jem prepares to follow his father. Dill and Scout join him in this venture. They find their father going to the Maycomb jail.

As they watch, a group of men join Atticus and get around to talk to him. Scout interrupts them at an inopportune moment and Atticus instructs them to leave. Scout attempts at a conversation with Mr. Cunningham but fails to elicit any response. Finally they leave. Atticus had been protecting Tom Robinson, in the jail, but it turns out that Mr. Underwood had also been covering him (Atticus), with a shotgun, from his window above the Maycomb Tribune office, in case anyone would attack him. Finally, they all return home.

Notes

Tom Robinson’s trial is a hot topic for discussion in the Maycomb County, and various stands have been taken over the trial. Atticus demurs from leaving the case, even after some warning. To safeguard Tom’s life before the trial, Atticus even goes out to guards him in the Maycomb jail.

Jem has matured enough to understand his father’s frame of mind. But Scout is still quite immature and her attempts of making conversation with Mr. Cunningham about his entailments, causes a little embarrassment. Scout had earlier overheard her father and Mr. Cunningham discuss about entailments in their house. Atticus had legally solved Cunningham’s problems about his land and Cunningham had been voicing his gratitude. On asking what entailments means, she had been sidetracked by Jem. Hence although she does not know its meaning and the background behind it, she had just mentioned the word to Cunningham. She probably wishes to show that she too is adult enough to participate in a mature conversation. Cunningham, however, gets embarrassed and being reminded of Atticus’ favor, is unable to continue threatening him. Thus, Scout’s innocent remarks, in a way, does prove beneficial to her father.

As the facts stand, Tom, a black man, has raped a white girl. The fact that a black has assaulted a white make the trial extremely precarious. Moreover, that Atticus has determined to take the case (and therefore defend Tom) is not approved by the people in general. Though the supposed victim in the case, Bob Ewell’s daughter, is what they call ‘white trash’, she is a white, and so the chances of Tom being excused are extremely remote.

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