1 Answer | Add Yours
One of the main ways in which Jem changes in Chapter Four of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is that he begins to be aware of the possibility that Arthur "Boo" Radley might not be all bad; Jem's openness to the chance that Boo might possess good qualities starts to develop in this chapter. The idea that Boo might be leaving the presents in the knothole in the tree also presents itself in a small way.
When Scout reveals to Jem the location of the knothole in which she found the gum, which Jem berated her for chewing due to the possibility of its being deadly, the two children find
...a small box patchworked with bits of tinfoil collected from chewing-gum wrappers. It was the kind of box wedding rings came in, purple velvet with a minute catch. Jem flicked open the tiny catch. Inside were two scrubbed and polished pennies, one on top of the other. Jem examined them.
"Indian-heads," he said. "Nineteen-six and Scout, one of 'em's nineteen-hundred. These are real old."
Jem recognizes what he considers to be inherent value in the coins and believes that they are worth much more than their face value. He informs Scout that he will put the pennies away in his trunk and tries to explain why.
"Well, Indian-heads--well, they come from the Indians. They're real strong magic, they make you have good luck. Not like fried chicken when you're not lookin' for it, but things like long life 'n' good health, 'n' passin' six-weeks test...these are real valuable to somebody..."
Because Jem pauses to look at the Radley's house for a long time, we know that he is contemplating the possibility that Boo Radley provided the gum and pennies. If that is true, Boo is kind and generous enough to want Jem and Scout to have good luck, among other things, which indicates that Boo cannot be the monster that they have imagined him to be.
We’ve answered 317,385 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question