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To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee

THE STORY

PART TWO

CHAPTER 22

In this chapter you find out how various characters in the story react to the jury's verdict.

Jem is the most upset of anyone because he had convinced himself that Tom had a chance to win. There is no doubt in Jem's mind who is responsible for Tom's fate. He blames the jurors.

Aunt Alexandra, rather surprisingly, resists the temptation to say "I told you so." She is shocked when Atticus comments that he is glad the children saw the trial because what happened to Tom Robinson is as much a part of Maycomb "as missionary teas." Nevertheless, for Alexandra, family loyalty is still the most important value. On the day after the trial she even calls Atticus "brother," something the children have never heard her do before.

Dill has already started to look for ways to put the tragedy of the verdict out of his mind. He tells Jem and Scout that he wants to be a clown when he grows up, because "There ain't one thing in this world I can do about folks except laugh...."


Miss Maudie's reaction may be the most interesting of all. She tells Jem and Scout that their father is one of those people who "do our unpleasant jobs for us." What do you think of Miss Maudie's reaction? You know that Miss Maudie is a good person. But doesn't her remark remind you of the complacency you saw in the last chapter? There are no easy answers to these questions. It is hard to imagine what Miss Maudie could have done to help Tom. Nor does it seem fair to expect everybody to be a crusader. On the other hand, Miss Maudie does seem to be acknowledging that she feels guilty to some degree for not doing more.

In the final paragraph of this chapter you learn the reaction of Bob Ewell, the one man in Maycomb whom you would expect to be pleased with the court's decision. Bob Ewell has promised that he will get revenge on Atticus if it takes "the rest of his life."  

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