To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Contributed by Sharon Fleming
Chapter 22

Atticus, Jem, Scout, and Dill walk home feeling defeated. Jem is more crushed by the verdict and asks his father how the verdict was reached, to which he admits not to understand. In the morning, Calpurnia finds a bounty of food on the back steps – a gift from Tom Robinson's supporters as gratitude to Atticus' support. Miss Stephanie drills the children outside about the details of the case, but Miss Maudie calls her off and invites the children for cakes. She helps them understand how the occurrences of the case moved the community forward, even if just a little bit. As they leave Maudie's house unconvinced, Miss Rachel informs them that Mr. Ewell had confronted Atticus at the post office, spitting at him and threatening him.


This chapter focuses on what the characters take away from the trial and how it might change them in the future. Aunt Alexandra shows how she loves Atticus and her children when she waits for them to come back. Just like Burris Ewell, Alexandra’s prejudices are a result of her surroundings. Her glimpses of care are very rare, but they suggest she might change. Jem feels betrayed by Maycomb when the guilty verdict is read. The reactions of Atticus to the trial are informative because even though Alexandra is mad at him for letting the children go to the courtroom, he insists that it is important for her children to understand the makeup of their community.

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