Scout thinks that Atticus looks somehow old. Mr. Tate asks to look at Jem’s injuries while Scout tells them what happened, and Aunt Alexandra excuses herself. Scout puts her head in Atticus’s lap and describes their walk, thinking it was Cecil following them, yelling, and her visible costume. Mr. Tate inspects the costume and declares that it probably saved Scout’s life. Atticus says that Mr. Ewell was out of his mind, but Mr. Tate insists that Mr. Ewell was just mean, drunk, and cowardly enough to kill children. Scout resumes her story, explains how she interpreted the scuffle, and points to the man in the corner who carried Jem away. Scout looks at the sickly man, who smiles timidly at her. Through tears, Scout greets Boo Radley.
Atticus still wants to believe that Mr. Ewell had some good in him, but Mr. Tate insists that Mr. Ewell is one of the few people or things in life that’s purely evil. With this, the novel makes the case that just as there are creatures like mockingbirds who are pure good, there are also select elements that are just evil. When Scout greets Boo Radley in this way, it makes it clear that she’s no longer afraid of him and of all the ways that he’s different. She can now confront her own prejudiced thoughts and set them aside.