To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Contributed by Sharon Fleming
Chapter 21

Calpurnia passes a note informing Atticus that his children are missing from the house, but the newspaper publisher Braxton Underwood tells him that the children are in the ‘Colored balcony.' They meet downstairs, and Atticus orders them to go back home. Alexandra is shocked to learn where they had gone to. After eating they get back, and the jury arrives with the verdict at around 11 pm. The guilty verdict is read, and after changing a few words with Mr. Gilmer, he packs his briefcase and leaves, to a standing ovation from everyone in the Colored balcony, including Reverend Sykes.


When Calpurnia passes a note to Atticus in the middle of the trial, it shows that Maycomb is a small community and everyone knows each person’s job. These qualities about the society has proved to be detrimental when overshadowed by prejudice and racism, as is the fact in the Tom Robinson case. The fact that Atticus allows his children to return to the courtroom after sending them back home shows that their relationship has matured and he now understands his children better, just the way they understand him better. The tension makes the reading of the verdict a perfect climax. The guilty verdict shocks and surprises many, but Atticus recognizes it couldn’t have gone any other way. The entire black community honors him when he passes, revealing that true class has more to do with morality than family name, the amount of money one has or the color of their skin.

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