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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
Jem begins to cry on hearing this unjust verdict. On reaching home, even Aunt Alexandra seems to have softened her stance slightly. Being after all the Atticus’ sister and the only aunt of the children, she cannot help sympathizing with them. She expresses her concern for not only Atticus but also Jem, who is yet too small to be exposed to the hard facts of life.
The next morning, Atticus says that the case is not closed and that there would be a further appeal. Seeing chicken for a breakfast, a dazed Atticus is led into the kitchen which is loaded with all sorts of food items. These had been sent by the blacks in their appreciation for Atticus for having taken up the case of a black.
As the children walk outside, Stephanie Crawford is full of questions as to how they had possibly been allowed to go to the court, but Miss Maudie icily stops her and calls them in for cakes. She then tells them that their father is one among those who are born to take the charge of doing the unpleasant jobs for the sake of others. She makes them realizes that there had been some people in Maycomb who had tried, in their ways, to support Tom. As they walk towards home, they meet a group of people, and they are informed them that Bob Ewell had met Atticus and vowed to teach him a lesson.
Gifting food is the blacks’ way of showing their appreciation for Atticus. One must take note that though Atticus had failed to save their man, they are still grateful to him for simply defending him, which in itself, was a big deal for the poor blacks.
Stephanie Crawford’s curiosity is that of an idle mind working overtime. Miss Maudie is mercifully able to put a stern stop to her impudent questions. Giving Jem a larger piece of cake also says a lot about Miss Maudie’s acute perception of human nature; that she can realize Jem to have matured. Again Stephanie displays her wretched nature in taking pleasure to inform the children that their father had been jeered by Bob Ewell.
Scout feels that her father should not have listened to Bob Ewell quietly; instead he should have shot him. But Jem makes her realize that Atticus never carried a gun, believing it to be a needless invitation for someone to shoot one. Atticus realizes that his children are sincerely concerned for his safety, and so appeals to them to try and understand Ewell’s point of view. After all, his credibility had been destroyed. Atticus, finally makes them believe that Ewell would do no harm. Tom’s case had reached the higher court and the chances of him being let off this time are pretty good.
Jem is still upset that the jury convicted Tom. Atticus makes him realize that though ideally, a jury should be fair, very often the members carry their prejudices into the courtroom and so their verdict is shadowed. He makes them realize that the jury actually took a few hours to reach their verdict showing that there is hope in this world.
Aunt Alexandra refuses to allow a Cunningham into the house and Scout almost has a fight with her. Jem takes her out, and on the pretext of showing the newly sprouted hair on his chest, implores her not to let auntie aggravate her. He then says that maybe, after all this, he can understand why Boo Radley does not come out of his house; probably because he wants to stay in and avoid contact with this dreadful world.
Ewell is such a perverted character that it is very probable that he would try to harm Atticus for having defended a black and for having grilled him and his daughter at court. The children’s fear, therefore, is justified especially when the reader finds Ewell take his revenge, later on in the story. But Atticus at this moment feels that what Ewell is only serving empty threats.
Jem has shown amazing maturity during these trying times. He even mediates between Scout and Aunt Alexandra hoping for peace in the house. On discussing the various types of people in this world, his comment on Boo choosing to stay inside his house, touches a chord. It seems better to stay at home and be labeled a madman, rather than face a world full of evil and injustice.