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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
Aunt Alexandra has her regular Missionary Circle Meet at the house. Scout has been asked to join them for refreshments. Stephanie Crawford, in her usual cattiness, teases Scout about being present in the courtroom. They all discuss Tomís trial and are general about their attitudes towards the blacks. When indirect comments about Atticus are passed Miss Maudie quells them icily, for which Aunt Alexandra is very grateful.
Later, Atticus enters, asking to borrow Calpurnia for a while. It turns out that Tom is dead: he had been shot as he had been trying to break away from the jail. Atticus needs Calpurnia to break the news to Tomís wife and to tend to her. Even Aunt Alexandra is shaken on hearing this and is deeply sympathetic towards her brother.
As expected, shrewd remarks about Atticusí defense are passed in Atticusí house itself. But Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra are able to handle the situation tactfully.
The news of Tomís death is shattering. Atticus is dejected since he had been quite sure that they would have won the case in the higher court. But it seems as if Tom had grown weary of the entire procedure, waiting for white men to do something for him, and so he himself took the chance to escape. Aunt Alexandra and Miss Maudie realize Atticusí merit and also perceive that he is being paid a high tribute by the few people in the society who acknowledge his worth.
Things have eventually normalized at the Maycomb County. Jem and Scout spend their time lazing around. They hitch a ride from Atticus and travel with him and Calpurnia to Tomís house. Helen, his wife, collapses on realizing the reason for their arrival.
The news of Tomís death lasts for two days, with a few articles about it in the newspapers. Ewellís name still causes an uneasy feeling in Scout but Jem placates her, saying that "Mr. Ewell was more hot gas than anything."
There is very little of action in this chapter; almost like a lull before the next storm. The interest and excitement over Tomís trial and his subsequent death has waned. Even the warning given by Ewell to Atticus has lost its force over the children.
Helenís silent reaction over her husbandís death may seem unnatural, but it is as if she always knew about the inevitability of her husbandís death. His death sentence had already been written the moment Mayella Ewell had opened her mouth to scream. Society had still not improved so much that a black would be given precedence over a white. Both Tom and Helen knew this all the while.
Scout is now in the third grade and the Radley house has ceased to terrify her. She remembers ruefully how she and Jem used to torment Bob Radley and yet he would leave them gifts in the knothole.
At school, in the Current Events class, when each child is supposed to give the gist of a piece of news aloud in class, Adolph Hitler and his prejudices are discussed. When Scout discusses it with Jem and breaches the subject of the blacks, Jem furiously tells her never to discuss that topic again.
Scout has outgrown her fear over the Radley house, but her wish to see Arthur Radley once before she dies, is at once squelched by Atticus. He does not want her to pester that family anymore.
The idea behind discussing news items in class is to give the child better poise, more confidence and to make him word- conscious. Unfortunately, however, half the children did not even have access to newspapers. Nevertheless, the subject of Adolph Hitler sparks of a chain of thoughts in Scoutís mind. She has realized that though one should not hate anybody, at the same time, it was obvious that the people in her society are still very much against the blacks and could never accept them. Her young mind has figured out the fact that people donít usually practice what they preach.