Chapter 26 to kill a mockingbird summary and analysis

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To kill a mocking bird
analysis and summary
Chapter 26
School is in session again, and Scout has lost her fear of the Radley place. Every
now and then she daydreams about seeing Boo sitting on the porch, and greeting
him as if they spoke to each other every day. School is hard for the Finch
children: their peers are generally somewhat cold toward them due to Atticus
defending Tom Robinson, as if their parents had instructed them to be civil but not
outwardly friendly.
One day during Current Events, Scout's class gets into a discussion about Hitler
and the persecution of the Jews. Her teacher, Miss Gates, speaks at length about
how the German dictatorship allows for the Jews to be persecuted by a prejudiced
leader, but she claims that in America, "we don't believe in persecuting anybody."
Scout finds Miss Gates hypocritical because she remembers that on the day of
Tom's trial, she overheard Miss Gates say that she thought it was, "time somebody
taught them a lesson, they thought they was getting' way above themselves, an'
the next thing they think they can do is marry us." "Them" meant black people. In
Scout's mind, this doesn't make sense and she goes to talk to Jem about it. Jem
responds very angrily, and tells her he never wants to talk about anything having
to do with that trial again. Scout is taken aback and goes to Atticus, who assures
her that Jem just needs some time to think about things, and then he'll be himself
In Chapter 26, the coldness of the schoolchildren demonstrates that children who
grow up in racist households tend to develop racist attitudes quite early in life.
Just as Jem and Scout grow up in a household valuing fairness and equality, and
therefore adhere to such morals. This dichotomy once again shows how people's
identities and values are shaped by the society and family life in which they are
In this chapter, Boo has made the full transition from monster to sad recluse and
potential friend. The events of the trial have made the children consider that
maybe Boo needs a good home to run to (Dill's theory) or maybe he prefers to stay
out of contact with people (Jem's theory). Scout dreams of finally getting to talk
to Boo, showing her desire to make him feel at home, and to show him that people
might not be so bad.
Miss Gates's statement that the persecuted Jews have contributed to every
society they've been a part of implies that blacks are not contributing in any way
to American society. She hypocritically believes that the Jews deserve sympathy
because they are white, whereas the persecuted group of the blacks still deserves
second-class citizenship. She also insinuates that because the United States is a
democracy, fairness is available for all, when blacks are suffering from the same
kinds of discrimination and segregation that Jews experience in Hitler's dictatorial
regime. The "democracy" she speaks of is not an all-inclusive one that offers the
same rights to all. Scout's awareness of her teacher's hypocrisy once again
demonstrates her powerful understanding of the true meaning of fairness and
equality. Jem is clearly still distraught by the trial, and needs time to allow his still
adolescent mind to understand the events in a more adult way.

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