What comic incident is related in Chapter 27 of To Kill a Mockingbird and what function does it serve?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's almost Halloween and Mrs. Merriweather writes a pageant about the history of Maycomb and its various agricultural products. The humor comes from the fact that Scout will play a ham. Her costume, made of chicken wire wrapped with brown cloth is so clumsy that the can't put in on or take it off by herself. It comes to her knees and she can even use her arms because they are pinned down by the costume. She also can't see well enough to walk to the pageant by herself. Jem will accompany her. This description is important for two reasons. First, it gives some comic relief to two ominous things Scout has reported in this chapter. She recounts how Bob Ewell tries to get a job and was fired for being so lazy. He blames Atticus for losing his job. Then, Ewell starts yelling insults and following Helen Robinson to work. Link Deas has to threaten to call the sheriff in order to stop Helen's harassment. However, thinking of Scout in that ridiculous costume helps break the ominous tone. It also helps set up the next important episode in which Jem must fight for his life and Scout is prevented from being hurt by the strength of the costume.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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