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Chapter 25

Professor Bradley Greenburg from Northeastern Illinois University explains Chapter 25 in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird | Chapter 25 | Summary

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Summary

On the way to Helen Robinson's to inform her of Tom's death, Atticus and Calpurnia come upon Jem and Dill, who are just returning from swimming, and the boys accompany them. Later the boys relay the details to Scout, telling her that upon hearing the news about her husband, Helen Robinson crumpled in a heap.

The news of Tom's death spreads like wildfire through Maycomb. Some people say Tom's poorly planned escape is typical of a black man's behavior. Others criticize him posthumously for the inability to wait to see the outcome of Atticus's appeal. In an editorial Braxton Underwood, the publisher of The Maycomb Tribune, says it's a sin to kill cripples, likening Tom's death to the "senseless slaughter of songbirds." In contrast, when Bob Ewell learns of Tom's death, he says, "one down and about two more to go."

Analysis

Bob Ewell's threatening comment following news of Tom Robinson's death foreshadows trouble. The townspeople's various reactions to Tom's death reinforce just how prejudiced the town is, but when Braxton Underwood's editorial compares Tom to a songbird, there seems to be hope for change.

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