Why Does Scout Disapprove Of Jem's And Dill's Plan

In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, why does Scout disapprove of Jem's and Dill's plan of looking in at one of the Radleys' windows?

Asked on by rumblemania

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mlsldy3's profile pic

mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

Jem, Scout and Dill have made it their mission to get Boo out of his house. It is all they can think about and they are consumed with the idea of it. Atticus is tired of the kids disturbing the Radley's and warns the children to stop bothering them. Jem and Dill still want to go ahead with their plan of looking in the windows of the Radley house, but Scout is against the idea. She doesn't want to disobey and disappoint Atticus. 

The kids have been so consumed with the idea of Boo Radley, that this is all they can think about. Atticus realizes what they are doing and wants to put a stop to it. Atticus has known the Radley's a long time and just wants people to leave them alone, he especially wants his children to not become a part of the people who torment the Radley's. By the time the trial starts, the children have gotten over trying to get Boo out. They are focused on more important things. 

What Jem and Scout don't realize, is that Boo Radley is watching them, as well. They can't even begin to imagine the nightmare they are about to be a part of, and the role Boo will play in all of this.

cmcqueeney's profile pic

cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Scout disapproves of the plan for two reasons.  First, she is still terrified of Boo Radley.  Second of all, Atticus has told them to leave the Radley's alone, and Scout doesn't want to disobey him.

tinicraw's profile pic

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

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In Chapter 4, Scout gets rolled in a tire all the way up to the Radley porch. At that moment, she hears someone from inside laughing and knows that Boo watches the children playing outside each day. Based on all of the gossip from Miss Stephanie Crawford, Scout remembers that Boo goes out at night and looks in people's windows. She voices her concerns to Jem when he wants to act out the Radley family drama during the summer by saying, "He can get out at night when we're all asleep" (39). She's clearly more worried than ever that Boo might target them as one of his victims. Jem's response is that Boo is probably dead and stuffed up the chimney.

By Chapter 6, when Jem and Dill want to peek into a Radley backyard window, Scout can't believe her ears. Up until now, the boys have only really fantasized about seeing Boo Radley; but they are really overstepping some boundaries this time. Besides, in Chapter 5, Atticus tricked Jem into fessing up to the game they were playing about the Radleys and he lectured all of the children by saying the following:

"What Mr. Radley did was his own business. If he wanted to come out, he would. . . What Mr. Radley did might seem peculiar to us, but it did not seem peculiar to him. Furthermore, had it never occurred to us that the civil way to communicate with another being was by the front door instead of a side window? Lastly, we were to stay away from that house until we were invited there, we were not to play an asinine game he had seen us playing or make fun of anybody on this street or in this town--" (49).

After Atticus's lecture, Scout thought the boys would let it alone; but, here they were trying look through the window again and disobey Atticus outright. If they got caught, then, the kids would run the risk of being whipped by their father and stalked by Boo Radley. Every red flag seemed to be hoisted that would warn them not to go through with this little adventure. Oddly enough, all Jem had to say to get Scout on board was to call her a girl again.


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