We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
To Kill a Mockingbird

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.

(Click the summary infographic to download.)

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...