To Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A week later, Heck Tate comes to the Finch's front lawn with a group of men to talk to Atticus. Tom Robinson is to be moved to the Maycomb jail and Heck says there might be trouble.
As the trial comes closer, prejudice increases until it threatens to become violence.
Themes
Prejudice Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
Jem gets scared someone might try to hurt Atticus. When Atticus drives into town the next night, Jem, Scout, and Dill sneak out after him. They finally spot Atticus sitting alone, reading, outside the jail. Just then, four cars drive up and a group of men surrounds Atticus. Scout, unsure what's happening, runs over to Atticus, followed by Jem and Dill. The men tell Atticus he has fifteen seconds to send his kids away. Jem refuses to budge. Scout spots Mr. Cunningham and asks him to say hi to Walter for her. Mr. Cunningham stares at her for a second, then bends down. He says he'll say hi to Walter, then tells the men to clear out.
In her childish misunderstanding of what's going on, Scout reminds Mr. Cunningham of his own human dignity by asking him questions about his son, Walter. To put it another way, Scout gets lucky. Jem, on the other hand, has no illusions about what's going on: he refuses Atticus's command to leave because he wants to help protect both Atticus and Tom. Jem's action is the courageous action of an adult facing a conflict.
Themes
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
Once the men have left, Tom Robinson asks from his cell if the men are gone. Mr. Underwood, the publisher and writer of the Maycomb newspaper, leans out his office window holding a double-barreled shotgun and calls out that he had Atticus covered.
Mr. Underwood shows that in Maycomb there are people in addition to Atticus who can see past racism.
Themes
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon