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Explain what Atticus means by telling Jem not to let his discovery "inspire" him to go...

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jessjess | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 5, 2010 at 9:55 AM via web

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Explain what Atticus means by telling Jem not to let his discovery "inspire" him to go "further glory" in To Kill a Mockingbird?

In Chapter 8 when Jem discovers that it was Boo Radley that put the blanket over Scout's shoulders, Why would he now start doing as his father says?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 5, 2010 at 10:01 AM (Answer #1)

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When Atticus tells Jem this, it is right after the fire.  Jem has been shocked by seeing Mr. Nathan Radley helping at the fire and has been even more shocked by the idea that it was Boo who put the blanket on him.

Up until now, Jem has imagined Boo as some sort of monster.  He has been doing all of these things at the Radley house to show how brave he is to be able to mess with the monster.  This is what Atticus means -- he means that Jem should not try to do more and more stuff at the Radleys'.

Jem is likely to listen now because he has seen that Atticus was right about Boo.  If Boo isn't a monster, and if Atticus is right, it makes sense to listen to Atticus and quit messing with the Radleys' home.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 6, 2010 at 10:26 AM (Answer #2)

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Atticus doesn't want Jem to futher inquire, seek, or even investigate about Boo Radley. After the first few chapters, the kids have kind of let Boo Radley alone. However, having this occur could have aroused their curiosity. I think Atticus says this to Jem because he understands Jem is the ring leader of the kids. If anyone is going to lead the kids to a new scheme it  will be Jem.

Jem does want to obey his dad... always has. The only thing that ever gets in his way is curiosity. Thus, Jem finds himself regularly in competition between childhood fancy and the moral right... it's actually a good place to be.

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