What are some shocking events in To Kill a Mockingbird in Chapters 16-22?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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CHAPTER 16.  This chapter deals with the first day of the Tom Robinson trial, and the night after Jem and Scout came to the rescue of Atticus at the jail.

  • Jem and Scout first discover that Atticus was appointed by Judge Taylor to defend Tom; he did not volunteer.

CHAPTER 17.  Sheriff Tate and Bob Ewell testify in the trial.

  • Bob Ewell's shocking testimony, that he had caught "that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella," caused a furor in the courtroom and nearly resulted in the children being removed.
  • Scout determined on her own that Bob Ewell likely beat Mayella himself.

CHAPTER 18.  Mayella testifies.

  • Although only slightly tamer than her father's testimony, Atticus's cross-examination results in Mayella loudly denouncing him and storming from the witness stand.

CHAPTER 19.  Tom Robinson testifies.

  • Atticus shows that Tom's crippled left arm could hardly have caused the damage to Mayella's face and neck.
  • The prosecutor, Horace Gilmer, attacks Tom on the stand, repeatedly calling him "boy."

CHAPTER 20.  Scout and Dill take a break before returning for Atticus's summation.

  • Scout and Dill meet Dolphus Raymond. They get to know him a bit and learn his secret.
  • Atticus's final summation is powerful but ultimately unsuccessful in swaying the jury.

CHAPTER 21.  The jury decides.

  • Calpurnia approaches Judge Taylor, searching for the "missing" Jem and Scout.
  • Despite Jem's certainty of an acquittal, Tom is convicted.
  • Everyone in the Negro balcony stands out of respect for Atticus as he leaves the courtroom.

CHAPTER 22.  After the verdict.

  • Atticus awakes the next morning to find his back porch full of food presented to him by the greatful African-American population of Maycomb.
  • Bob Ewell spits in Atticus's face and threatens to "get him if it takes the rest of his life." 
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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Some shocking events in "To Kill a Mockingbird" in chapters 16 through 22 include:

Chapter 16: The court begins to decide on jurors.  The people come from all over to attend Tom Robinson's trial.  The event is parallel to a circus or fun event.  People even picnic on the courthouse grass.

Chapter 17:  Mr. Glimer is the prosecutor.  Atticus makes a point about Miss Ewell left side of her face being bruised.  He balances his statement by explaining that Tom's injured hand would not have allowed him to hit her that hard on the left side of her face.  Atticus tries to show the jury that it could have been Mr. Ewell who had beat his daughter.

Chapter 18:  Mayella is called to the stand.  She does not like Atticus.  She continues to accuse Tom Robinson.  Atticus breaks apart her story.

Chapter 19:  Tom Robinson testifies.  He tells how Mayella had jumped on him hugging him.  He hears Mr. Ewell hollering at Mayella and calling her names.  Tom says he ran.  Dill starts crying and has to leave the courtroom.  He gets sick.  He hates the way they are talking down to Tom.

Chapter 20: Closing statements are made.  The plea made by Atticus is that they restore Tom to his family.  Calpurnia walks towards Atticus.

Chapter 21:  Atticus learns from Calpurnia that the children were missing.  A man shows them to him up in the balcony.  They are sitting in the section for black people.  Jem believes that Atticus has won.  Tom is found guilty.  The black people stand as Atticus leaves the courtroom in respect to Atticus.

Chapter 22:  Black people bring food to Atticus and gifts to thank him.  Jem cries.  Atticus eyes also fill with tears at home.  Bob Ewell stops Atticus on the street and spits in his face.

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