To Kill a Mockingbird – Chapter 26

Consequently, their childhood superstitions about Boo Radley have diminished. The real world, including the dramatic trial, Tom Robinson’s death, and Bob Ewell’s threats, has proven far more frightening than anything they could have imagined in their made-up stories about Boo. As Scout says later in the chapter, “So many things had happened to us, Boo Radley was the least of our fears.” Scout says that the Radley place had ceased to terrify her. Why?
Scout feels a little guilty about the they treated Boo: “I sometimes felt a twinge of remorse, when passing by the old place, at ever having taken part in what must have been sheer torment to Arthur Radley—what reasonable recluse wants children peeping through his shutters, delivering greetings on the end of a fishing-pole, wandering in his collards at night?”She still looks for Boo every time she passes the Radley house, even expressing to Atticus one evening her desire “just to have one good look at Boo Radley” before she dies. She imagines how that moment would be: “…he’d just be sitting in the swing when I came along. ‘Hidy do, Mr. Arthur,’ I would say, as if I had said it every afternoon of my life. ‘Evening, Jean Louise,’ he would say, as if he had said it every afternoon of my life….” How does Scout feel about the way she, Jem, and Dill once treated Boo Radley? Whatare her thoughts about him now?
The class discusses Adolf Hitler and his persecution of the Jews. According to Miss Gates, the difference between America and Germany is that “We are a democracy and Germany is a dictatorship…Over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced.” What do the children talk about in current events period? According to Miss Gates,what is the difference between America and Germany?
Scout has heard Miss Gates speak hatefully of black people. She tells Jem that she overheard Miss Gates speaking to Stephanie Crawford on the night of Tom Robinson’s trial: “I heard her say it’s time somebody taught ’em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us.” Scout then asks, “Jem how can you hate Hitler so bad an’ then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home—.” Like Mrs. Merriweather and the other ladies in the missionary circle, Miss Gates is a hypocrite. She is outraged at the persecution of the Jews in Germany, yet she refuses to acknowledge the persecution of blacks in her own country. Moreover, she protests against prejudice to her students, yet her remarks to Stephanie Crawford demonstrate that she herself is a racist. Why is Scout surprised that her teacher hates Hitler? How is Miss Gates similar in this regard to the ladies in the missionary circle from Chapter Twenty-Four?
Jem is trying to forget the ugly side of humanity that he witnessed during the trial. Hescreams at Scout, “I never wanta hear about that courthouse again, ever….” The trial wasa very traumatic experience for him, and he is still trying to deal with the disillusionmenthe suffered as a result of it. As Atticus states in the last paragraph of the chapter, “Jem was trying hard to forget something, but what he was really doing was storing it away for a while, until enough time passed. Then he would be able to think about it and sort things out.” Why does Jem react violently when Scout talks about what she overheard at thecourthouse?

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