To Kill A Mockingbird: Novel Summary: Chapters 27-28
Chapter 27: By mid-October life in Maycomb has settled back into its normal routine with the exception of three small but ominous events. First, Bob Ewell finally acquired but quickly lost a job. He was so irate about losing his job that he marched down to Atticus's office and accused him of "getting" his job. Second, someone broke into Judge Taylor's house. Finally, Link Deas, Helen Robinson's employer, threatens Bob Ewell after Helen complains that Bob had been following her to work every morning. Clearly, Bob Ewell still seeks revenge on the people he feels wronged him during the Robinson trial.
Meanwhile, Scout looks forward to a Halloween pageant at school and occupies the rest of the chapter with the story of Tutti and Frutti Barber, two old ladies who were tormented by children who thought it would be a grand practical joke to hide the ladies' furniture from them.
Chapter 28: Jem escorts Scout, who is dressed like a smoked ham, to the Halloween pageant. Scout misses her cue during the show but the children have a wonderful time. Still dressed in her ham costume, Jem and Scout make their way back home as the school closes for the night. A mockingbird sings in the branches above as Jem and Scout fumble through the darkness toward home. Jem hears footsteps behind them and slows his pace. As they walk they hear footsteps. When they stop, the footsteps stop. Fearful but determined the children continue toward the street ahead. Suddenly, a man attacks Jem as he yells for Scout to run. Scout stumbles on the tree roots below and trips on her costume. Scout hears a commotion behind her and realizes that Jem and the man are fighting. Shortly, though, she hears a terrible cracking sound and Jem screaming in pain. She tries to get up and run but the man turns his attention to her and grabs her from behind, squeezing the air out of her lungs. Just as suddenly, however, someone else intervenes. The man drops Scout to the ground where she hears further commotion, panting, and coughing. In the ensuing silence she feels around the ground and comes across a man's body, rough and smelling of alcohol. She finally manages to turn herself back toward the street where she sees another man carrying Jem. She follows the man as she races for home.
When she reaches home she finds Jem lying in bed and Atticus calling Sheriff Tate and Dr. Reynolds. Tate and Reynolds arrive. Tate investigates the scene of the crime and Reynolds inspects Jem. Fortunately, Jem broke his arm at his elbow and is merely unconscious. As she worries over Jem, Scout notices an additional man in the room watching over Jem. A countryman that she does not recognize, Scout figures that it was this stranger who saved her and carried Jem home. Tate returns and notifies the family that he found Bob Ewell dead with a kitchen knife sticking out of his chest.