To Kill a Mockingbird

Chapter 12

What new things does scout learn about how black people live

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Inside the church, everything is much simpler than in the church she is used to, and there are no hymnbooks. Reverend Sykes announces that the collection taken up today will go to Helen, the wife of Tom Robinson. Calpurnia's son Zeebo, the town's trash collector, leads the congregation in hymns, singing each line and having the group repeat it back to him. Reverend Sykes gives a sermon, which seems similar to the sermons Scout is used to, except that he makes examples of particular people in the congregation to illustrate his points. After collection time, the Reverend counts the money collected and announces that they must raise ten dollars to give to Helen Robinson. He orders for the doors to be closed until everyone gives more. After the service, Scout asks Reverend Sykes why Helen needs the collection money when she can still go to work and take her children with her. Even though the people live in poverty, they still find money to give to Helen in her time of great need. Scout learns that unity and empathy help blacks survive in an oppressive society.