Many of author Harper Lee's main themes can be found in Chapter 28 of To Kill a Mockingbird. Bob Ewell's attack on the children and the subsequent appearance of Boo Radley represents the final act of Jem's and Scout's loss of innocence. The theme of courage and cowardice is found in the scurrilous decision by Bob Ewell to kill Atticus's children and the heroic actions of Boo to protect them. The theme of guilt and innocence is presented by Sheriff Tate's decision to call Bob's death self-inflicted, protecting the innocent Boo Radley of a public inquiry.
"There's a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it is dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr. Finch." (Chapter 30)
The theme of hypocrisy can be found when the inept Colonel Maycomb, for whom the town is named, is once again celebrated despite the disaster he brought "to all who rode with him in the Creek Indian Wars." The theme of superstition vs. reality is found during the children's conversation about "Haints and Hot Steams" as they make their way in the spooky darkness to the school. And, as usual, the lack of any African Americans present indicates that the town is continuing its observation of racial segregation (the theme of prejudice and tolerance).