To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 27 Summary

Instructor: Erica Schimmel

Erica has taught college English writing and literature courses and has a master's degree in children's literature.

Though things appear to be settling down in Maycomb County, three out-of-the-ordinary events indirectly relate to the Finch family. In chapter 27, we learn about these events and of Maycomb's preparations for Halloween.

Opening Information

It is now October in Maycomb County, after a summer filled with turmoil surrounding the trial of Tom Robinson. Although the accusations against Tom were proven false, the jury still found the black man guilty of raping and beating a white woman. The trial stirred up racist emotions in the town, and only now do things seem to be getting back to normal.

Three Small Things Happen to Maycomb Citizens

In the beginning of chapter 27 in To Kill a Mockingbird, we learn that things in Maycomb County have settled down a little since school began again. Scout tells us only three unusual events have happened by the middle of October. She says these things 'did not directly concern us - the Finches - but in a way they did.'

First, Bob Ewell gets hired and fired from a job within a matter of days. Upon his dismissal, he resumes picking up his welfare checks, but not without grumbling. One day, Ruth Jones, the woman who works for the welfare office, walks to Atticus's office to tell him Bob accused Atticus of getting him fired. Atticus dismisses the complaint, saying Bob knows where to find him if he wants to talk.

Second, someone attempts to break into Judge Taylor's house. On a Sunday night, Judge Taylor hears scratching from the back of his house. When he goes to let his dog out, he finds the screen door open and sees a shadow at the corner of his house. He resumes his evening reading with his shotgun on his lap.

Third, Mr. Link Deas, Tom Robinson's former boss, gives a job to Tom's widow, Helen, even though he does not need the help. In order to get to work, Helen must walk almost a mile out of her way so as not to pass the Ewell house. When Mr. Deas hears about this, he insists on walking Helen home one afternoon. On the way back, he stops at the Ewell house and yells to the Ewells that he will have Bob arrested if any of them bother Helen again.

The next day, Helen walks past the Ewell home on her way to work. Bob follows behind her, saying dirty things. Mr. Deas is furious, despite Bob's claim he did not touch Helen. Mr. Deas insists scaring her is also assault and threatens to report another incident to the police. After that, Bob leaves Helen alone.

Aunt Alexandra observes Bob 'seems to have a permanent running grudge against everybody connected with that case.' Although they have no proof Bob was responsible for Judge Taylor's door, Atticus observes 'I proved him a liar but John made him look like a fool.' Atticus thinks Bob's motivation may be anger that nobody believed his lies about Tom Robinson, and feeling humiliated in court. Despite Atticus's calm demeanor, Aunt Alexandra remains concerned Bob may do something foolish.

Maycomb Plans for Halloween

In previous years, Scout reports, Halloween was 'a completely unorganized affair.' However, the antics from the year before resulted in a prank that went too far - some kids had hidden the furniture of Misses Tutti and Frutti, maiden sisters who lived together, in the ladies' cellar. Because of this prank, the Maycomb ladies decided they would provide activities in the high school auditorium, including a pageant for the adults and games for the children.

Scout learns she is to be part of the pageant entitled Maycomb County: Ad Astra Per Aspera, written by Mrs. Grace Merriweather, one of the ladies in Aunt Alexandra's Missionary Society. She and some of the other children will be in costumes designed to look like Maycomb's agricultural products. Mrs. Merriweather casts Scout as a ham.

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