What happens when Scout and Jem walk home from the pageant?

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In chapter 28, Jem and Scout walk home by themselves following the Maycomb Halloween festival and hear someone walking behind them. Initially, the children believe that the person stalking them is Cecil Jacobs, who is attempting to scare them. As the children are walking through the Radley yard, Bob...

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In chapter 28, Jem and Scout walk home by themselves following the Maycomb Halloween festival and hear someone walking behind them. Initially, the children believe that the person stalking them is Cecil Jacobs, who is attempting to scare them. As the children are walking through the Radley yard, Bob Ewell suddenly attacks. Jem screams for Scout to run and is tackled by Bob Ewell, who proceeds to grab Scout. During the struggle, Scout cannot see their attacker because of her cumbersome ham costume but feels like she is being squeezed to death. Fortunately, Boo Radley comes to their defense and successfully yanks Bob Ewell from Scout. Once the fight is over, Scout sees the image of a man carrying her unconscious brother towards their home.

Once Scout arrives home, she attempts to describe the attack to Sheriff Tate and is surprised to discover that Boo Radley came to their aid. Apparently, Boo saw Bob attack the children and rushed to their defense. During the struggle, Jem broke his arm before Boo Radley was able to stab and kill Bob Ewell. After Scout is introduced to Boo for the first time, she overhears Sheriff Tate explaining to Atticus why he refuses to announce Boo's heroics to the community and decides to tell everyone that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife and died during the attack.

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This climactic scene is one of the most exciting portions of the novel.  Jem and Scout are returning home on Halloween night after the school held a pageant for Maycomb’s children.  Scout’s part in the play about the agricultural history of Maycomb is that of a ham.  She is in a ham costume that is bulky and hard to remove, so she decides to walk home with it on.  As they are walking, Jem suddenly starts struggling with someone, but Scout can’t see who it is because of the costume.  She hears Jem fall and then realizes that there is another fight going on.  Boo Radley has stopped Bob Ewell from harming the children, and in the struggle with Boo Radley, Bob Ewell is stabbed by his own knife between his ribs.  Scout hears Boo (at this time she doesn’t know it’s Boo) pick up Jem and run toward her house.  Scout follows and discovers that Boo saved Jem and her from Bob Ewell’s attack.  Jem is knocked out and has a broken arm, and Scout mentions how disappointed Jem will be because he didn’t get to meet Boo Radley.

As the book wraps up, Heck Tate tells Atticus that there will not be any charges pressed against Boo because he feels it will be an injustice to prosecute Boo.  Heck Tate convinces Atticus to say that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife.  Boo truly becomes a hero in the story and puts the superstitions surrounding him to rest by this selfless act.

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Scout, after missing her cue to go on stage at the school pageant, is too embarrassed to leave with the crowd still around. Still wearing her ham costume, she and Jem begin their journey home once most of the people have left the school. As they're walking, Jem thinks he hears something. Scout recognizes that the sound they're hearing is the sound of someone's pants, the "swish of cotton on cotton." They realize someone is after them.

Their attacker turns out to be Bob Ewell. Jem's arm is broken in the attack, and he is carried home by the man that saves them. Scout makes her way home, and Dr. Reynolds and Sheriff Tate are called. As Scout tells Sheriff Tate the events that took place, she identifies Boo Radley as the man that saves them.

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In Chapter 28, Jem and Scout are walking home from the Halloween pageant when they hear someone following them. Initially, the children believe Cecil Jacobs is trying to scare them, but then Bob Ewell attacks them. Bob Ewell pulls Jem backward and breaks his arm. Bob then squeezes Scout and attempts to stab her, but she is saved after Boo Radley heroically comes to her defense. Boo Radley wrestles with Bob Ewell and is able to take Bob's weapon. Boo stabs and kills Bob Ewell with his own knife, then picks up Jem to take him home. Scout was unable to witness the attack because of her cumbersome costume and sees the figure of a man staggering down the road holding Jem. Later, it is revealed that Boo Radley saved the children, and Sheriff Tate decides not to tell the community about his heroics.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team