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How did Helen respond to Tom's death in Chapter 25 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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claraaainmannn | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 9, 2013 at 8:51 PM via web

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How did Helen respond to Tom's death in Chapter 25 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:10 PM (Answer #1)

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According to Dill, when Sam (Helen's son) returned with Helen from Sis Steven's, she asked Atticus if he wanted to sit down. Neither Atticus nor Helen said another word, so Helen must have understood from the look on Atticus' face that Tom was dead. Helen suddenly fainted, completely passing out. As Dill told it to Scout, Helen was immediately and completely overcome with grief: 

“Scout,” said Dill, “she just fell down in the dirt. Just fell down in the dirt, like a giant with a big foot just came along and stepped on her. Just ump—” Dill’s fat foot hit the ground. “Like you’d step on an ant.” 

Atticus and Calpurnia helped Helen to her feet and stayed inside her house with her for a while, evidently trying to calm her down and commiserate with her. Dill and Jem remained in the car. Atticus came back out to the car a while later to go home. Calpurnia remained inside with Helen, probably for moral support. 

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