Jean Louise gets up, clings to the fence that once separated her yard from Dill’s, and throws up. She thinks of Dill and how he too has left her. Jean Louise hopes that this might all be a horrible mistake. She is interrupted by the owner of the ice cream shop. She identifies him as one of the Cunninghams (not the Coninghams) from Old Sarum, and then walks the long way home.
The figures that made up home for Jean Louise were Jem, Dill, Calpurnia, and Atticus. Now Jem is dead, Dill and Calpurnia have left, and Atticus seems to betrayed her, so Jean Louise feels totally lost and alone. The Cunninghams are a poor family who feature in Mockingbird as well.
Aunt Alexandra is waiting for Jean Louise when she gets home, and she is very disapproving of Jean Louise going into town “like that.” Jean Louise tells Alexandra to tell Hank that she is “indisposed” when he comes later in the day to pick her up for their date. Jean Louise goes into her bedroom, undresses, and falls asleep almost immediately. The narrator notes that Jean Louise has never understood the pervasive power of racist Southern society, because she has a “visual defect” that no one in her insular world of friends and family noticed: “she was born color blind.”
Jean Louise reenters the world of Maycomb and her family, where nothing seems to have changed except for her perception of it. Jean Louise and her more liberal worldview is a product of the Atticus she idealized and imagined: the Atticus seen through the rose-tinted glasses of childhood, the Atticus, one might argue, of Mockingbird. Jean Louise isn’t totally “color blind” or without prejudice as the narrator claims, but she is at least compared to Maycomb.