After school begins, Jem realizes that his pants had been mended and placed over the fence. They keep finding gifts in the knothole and claim it after a few days when no one picks it. Scout continues being disillusioned by the school but is convinced by Jem that it may get better with time. Gifts continue to be placed at the knothole for the kids. After a while, the knothole gets filled with cement. When Jem asks about the cement, Radley responds that he did so because the tree was weathering out.
Maycomb finally experiences a winter after a very long time. Jem and Scout make a snowman that resembles Avery, a man they consider very unpleasant. The snow is collected from Maudie’s yard since they do not have enough on their own yard. Atticus asks them to disfigure it because it is rather obvious that the snowman resembles Avery. Maudie’s house catches fire and burns to the ground. During the whole drama, a blanket is mysteriously placed on Scout, forcing her to reveal the gifts they have been receiving from the knothole.
This forces Atticus to warn them to avoid going to the Radley Place and keep to themselves, as it could be dangerous. Surprisingly, Maudie is happy that her old home was burnt down and she confesses that she hated it. She even reveals her plans to build a new one.
Things continue to get tough for Scout as she is mocked by her classmate called Cecil Jacobs who says that Scout’s father is a traitor because he defends niggers. Atticus feels that he needs to protect Tom Robinson so that justice and self-respect can prevail in society. Jack, Atticus’s brother, visits them during Christmas and warns Scout about her new habit of cursing. Things get worse as Francis refers to Atticus as a “nigger-lover.”
This leads to a fight between Scout and Francis. Jack spanks Scout without knowing what happens and is later furious when he finds out why Scout beat Francis up after they return to Maycomb.