To Kill a Mockingbird – Chapter 30

In Chapter Twenty-Six, Scout had fantasized about finally seeing Boo Radley one day. She imagined that he would be sitting on his porch when she passed by his house, and they would exchange greetings as if they had done so every afternoon of their lives. Now, she has indeed met Boo Radley face to face for the first time. She leads him out to the Finches’ front porch, and they sit together amiably, while Atticus and Heck Tate discuss matters. She thinks to herself, “My small fantasy about him was alive again: he would be sitting on the porch… right pretty spell we’re having, isn’t it, Mr. Arthur?” How has Scout’s “small fantasy” about Boo Radley come true in this chapter?
Atticus mistakenly thinks that Jem killed Bob Ewell: “You heard what Scout said, there’s no doubt about it. She said Jem got up and yanked him off her—he probably got hold of Ewell’s knife somehow in the dark….”Atticus does not want the information covered up because he does not want his son to have to live a lie. In Atticus’s mind, if they were to cover up the crime, Jem would have to grow up with it hovering over him: “I don’t want anybody saying, ‘Jem Finch…his daddy paid a mint to get him out of that.'” More importantly, Atticus would be a hypocrite and would lose the respect of his children: “…if I connived at something like this, frankly I couldn’t meet [Jem’s] eye, and the day I can’t do that I’ll know I’ve lost him. I don’t want to lose him and Scout, because they’re all I’ve got.” Who does Atticus think killed Bob Ewell? Why does he not want it covered up?
Tate tries to convince Atticus that Bob Ewell fell on his knife and killed himself. However, Atticus does not believe him and continues to think that Tate is covering up for Jem. Heck Tate tries to convince Atticus that Scout was wrong in her recollection of who killed Bob Ewell. What is Tate’s theory?
Boo Radley killed Bob Ewell to save Jem and Scout. Tate believes that justice has been done. As he explains, “There’s a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it’s dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr. Finch.” Moreover, Tate knows that if the truth were to come out, Boo Radley would be treatedlike a hero by the townspeople, the last thing a shy recluse like him would want: “All theladies in Maycomb includin’ my wife’d be knocking on his door bringing angel food cakes… taking the one man who’s done you and this town a great service an’ draggin’ him with his shy ways into the limelight—to me, that’s a sin.” Who killed Bob Ewell? Why does Tate decide to keep this information from the public?
She says it would be like “shootin’ a mockingbird.” Her words once again emphasize the theme of the destruction of innocence. To expose Boo Radley to publicity would be a sin, just as Mr. Tate had said—a thoughtless and destructive act inflicted on a harmless creature. To what does Scout compare Boo’s exposure?Explain her meaning.
What does Atticus say to Boo as the chapter closes?He says to Boo, “Thank you for my children, Arthur.” What does Atticus say to Boo as the chapter closes?

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