To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 28 Summary
- It's a warm but windy moonless evening as Jem and Scout walk from their house to the high school, Jem carrying Scout's ham costume.
- The kids joke about "haints," which no longer seem scary now that they're so grown up.
- As they pass through a field, someone leaps out at them with a light. Eek!
- Oh, it's only Cecil Jacobs.
- They all head over the auditorium, and Scout wriggles into her slightly mashed ham costume.
- But she falls asleep and misses her cue, earning a big scolding from Mrs. Merriweather.
- Scout doesn't want to face anyone after her goof, so she keeps her ham costume on for anonymity.
- Not that dressing as a giant ham is a great way to ensure anonymity.
- They leave the school to go back the way they came, through the midnight-black field.
- Scout realizes she's forgotten her shoes. When they turn back to get them the lights at the school go off, and Jem tells her she'll have to go back tomorrow.
- Jem seems nervous about something, and tells Scout to shush for a while.
- Scout tells him she's too old to play these games.
- It's not a game. Jem tells her he hears something when they're walking, but it stops when they do.
- Jem says it's probably just Cecil. How can Cecil can see them in the darkness? The fat streaks in her ham are made with reflective paint.
- Scout shouts a teasing comment at Cecil Jacobs, but doesn't get any response.
- It's weird for Cecil to delay the payoff of a prank for so long.
- Can Scout take off her costume? She thinks so, but she's not wearing much under it. Jem has her dress, but she can't put it on in the dark.
- And then Scout realizes that Jem knows their stalker isn't Cecil, but he's pretending he thinks it is so as not to scare her.
- Then the stalker runs towards them, and it's not a kid. It's a man.
- Jem screams at Scout to run, but she's off-kilter in her ham costume and she falls to the ground.
- There's fighting, but Scout can't see. More fighting, and then a crunch and a scream from Jem.
- Scout runs back towards Jem and crashes into a man's stomach.
- The man squeezes her until she can barely breathe, but suddenly falls backwards; Scout thinks Jem must have gotten up.
- The night is quiet again, except for the sound of a man wheezing.
- Scout calls out Jem's name, but he doesn't answer.
- Eventually Scout realizes that there's two men under the tree besides her and Jem.
- She says Atticus's name hesitatingly, but still gets no answer.
- The man walks towards the road, and Scout goes to where he had been, looking for Jem.
- Instead she finds a man lying on the ground smelling of booze.
- Scout finally makes her way over the road, and in the light of the street lamp Scout sees a man carrying Jem, whose arm is hanging at an unnatural angle.
- The man heads to the Finch house, where Atticus lets him in.
- There's a bunch of running around, and Atticus and Alexandra call a doctor and the sheriff, in that order.
- Aunt Alexandra de-hams Scout and asks her what happened, but Scout says she doesn't know.
- Dr. Reynolds arrives and tends to Jem's broken arm and concussion, and then to Scout, who's also gotten knocked around the head.
- In Jem's room, Scout sees Atticus, Aunt Alexandra, and a man she doesn't know.
- Mr. Tate arrives with news: he's found a pink dress, some pieces of ham-colored cloth—and the corpse of Bob Ewell, who's been stabbed to death.
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