In chapters 26–28 of To Kill a Mockingbird, we see the aftermath of Tom's death, the kids' attempts to process the trial, mischief in Maycomb, and Bob Ewell's final attack.
There was one odd thing, though, that I never understood: in spite of Atticus's shortcomings as a parent, people were content to re-elect him to the state legislature that year, as usual, without opposition. I came to the conclusion that people were just peculiar, I withdrew from them, and never thought about them until I was forced to. (243)
Here, we see a positive consequence of Atticus's work with Tom Robinson. The town, as traditional and prejudiced as most are, trusts Atticus to do the right thing, even when no one is watching. Scout's confusion reminds us of her age and her innocence. How can people chide his parenting, yet vote him in without question? Her innocence and naivety hold true in the following quote:
Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an' then turn around and be so ugly about folks right at home— (247)
In this quote, Scout reflects on how mad her teacher, Miss Gates, gets when discussing Hitler in class. However, Scout makes the connection to her comments at the courthouse where she openly makes a racist comment about the black community "gettin' way above themselves" (247). This quote connects the entire chapter by showing how even Scout can see the hypocrisy of her town at such a young age. She can't seem to figure out people in Maycomb, but it will take her years of living to realize why.
In chapter 27, several incidents happen in town. Mr. Ewell loses his job and harasses Helen until Link Deas threatens him, and Judge Taylor has a shadowy visitor. Aunt Alexandra is concerned about these happenings, but Atticus understands Ewell's motive. Ewell knows "very few people in Maycomb really believed his and Mayella's yarns." Atticus also points out that he "proved him a liar," and Judge Taylor "made him look like a fool" (250). These comments set up the drama that will ensue in chapter 28.
Halloween approaches, and the kids prepare for the pageant. Scout is sad to hear neither Atticus nor Aunt Alexandra will be in attendance. Before Scout leaves, Alexandra states, "somebody just walked over my grave," foreshadowing the terror that will soon befall Jem and Scout (253). It's as if she knows something bad will happen that evening.
After the pageant, the kids walk home in the dark and believe they are being followed by Scout's classmate, Cecil Jacobs. However, they quickly learn their "company" isn't a pranking peer.
Scout, in her large ham Halloween costume, feels someone "[crush] the chicken wire around [her]," which causes her to fall to the ground. Trapped in her costume, she hears "scuffling" and "kicking sounds" all around her until someone gets her on her feet (262).
This isn't an ordinary attack. Their attacker, whom we later find out to be Bob Ewell, is trying to do significant damage, possibly with the intent to kill. Thankfully, the kids survive.
Back at the Finch house, Sherrif Tate "glanced sharply at the man in the corner, nodded to him, then looked around the room—at Jem, at Aunt Alexandra, then at Atticus" (266).
Scout silently acknowledges this man and continues to wonder if he would like to sit or if he's more comfortable standing. She accepts Atticus's judgment of the situation but remains curious about the visitor. Little does she know that this is the man she's been dying to see her entire life.
Chapter 28 ends with the shocking news that "Bob Ewell's lyin' on the ground under that tree down yonder with a kitchen knife stuck up under his ribs" (266). Tate reveals that Ewell is dead, and the family is left to discover what events led to his murder.