To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Contributed by Sharon Fleming
Chapter 24
Summary

With summer nearing its end and Dill about to leave, he and Jem go to Baker's Eddy where Jem teaches him to swim. Alexandra invited old missionary friends over, but Scout is uncomfortable around them and prefers to be with Calpurnia making refreshments. Atticus suddenly arrives and pulls Alexandra aside to inform her that Tom Robinson had been shot while attempting to escape from prison. Atticus and Calpurnia leave to go and inform Tom's wife about the bad news. Alexandra wonders how much more the town will throw at Atticus, but Miss Maudie tells her that the people's trust in Atticus is a tribute to him. 

Analysis

This chapter brings the news of Tom Robinson’s death, shot 17 times while attempting to escape from prison. The Finch household rally to support each other. The moment when Miss Maudie, Aunt Alexandra and Scout pull together to carry on in front of the missionary woman shows their strength and some hope for Alexandra. Scout is also becoming more like Atticus and Jem and by wearing overalls under her dress, it represents Dolphus Redmond’s technique of getting the society off his back. She pleases her aunt with the dress on the outside while maintaining her identity on the inside. The discussion between Alexandra and Miss Maudie about Atticus makes them look at him from outside the family circle. Alexandra worries about him while Maudie reassures her that the society is honoring Atticus by giving him that responsibility.

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