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Using Freytag's pyramid for plot, here are the following elements from Chapter 15:
Scout narrates that Dill is finally allowed to come and stay with the Finches. However, Scout adds, "A nightmare was upon us," foreshadowing the conflicts to come.
- Rising Action
One evening after the family has had supper, there is a knock on the door from Mr. Heck Tate, the Maycomb sheriff. In addition, there are some men standing in the front yard.
In Maycomb, grown men stood outside in the front yard for only two reasons: death and politics.
This time they are there because the "Old Sarum bunch," a "confusing tribe" described by Scout in Chapter 1 who are known as "the nearest thing to a gang" who does little that is productive; they gamble and make "stumphole whiskey" and ride around, are purportedly "stirring up trouble." Mr. Link Deas says pointedly to Atticus,
"--don't see why you touched it in the first place....You've got everything to lose from this Atticus. I mean everything."
As the men draw nearer to Atticus, Jem tries to end the tension by calling out, "Atticus, the telephone's ringing!" But, Atticus just tells him to answer it, although some men jumped back. After he re-enters the house and the men depart, Jem is still worried that someone wants to hurt his father.
After Atticus leaves the house on Suday evening carrying an extension cord with him, the children follow him and find his car parked in front of the bank where his office is located. Sitting in front of the jail door where Tom Robinson is lodged, Atticus has strung a light so that he can read. As the children cut across the town square, cars speed up a dusty road. "In ones and twos, men got out of the cars." They approach Atticus,
"You know what we want....Get aside from the door, Mr. Finch."
Atticus tells the men that the sheriff is nearby, but they know otherwise. When Scout pushes her way through the men, raw fear shows on her father's face. Immediately, he tells the children to return home. But Jem refuses. One man tells Atticus that he has fifteen seconds to remove the children. As the tension mounts, Scout notices Mr. Cunningham and speaks directly to him, asking him about his "entitlements." This action of Scout makes Mr. Cunningham uncomfortable. Then, he bends down to Scout and speaks to her; after this action, he calls out to the men, "Let's go."
- Falling action
Scout asks her father if they can go home; Tom Robinson calls out softly, "They gone?" and Atticus reassures him, instructing him to try to sleep. Then, Mr. Underwood appears with a double-barreled shotgun as he leans out his office window.
Mr. Underwood and Atticus discuss what has happened; finally, Atticus picks up the chair he has been sitting on before the jailhouse door. Dill offers to carry it for him, and Atticus and the children walk home.
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