What compliment does Atticus give to Jem, and what is Jems response?
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At the end of Chapter 15, Jem, Scout and Dill come to the rescue of Atticus outside the jail when a group of men gather to break Tom out and lynch him. Although Atticus was willing to stand alone against the lynch mob, there was little chance that he could have stopped the men until the arrival of the three children. While it was Scout's innocent words that brought shame to the men and turned them away, Atticus showed deep affection for Jem's courage in leading the young rescue party. As Dill and Scout followed behind, they watched Atticus and Jem far ahead under a streetlight. At first they assumed that Atticus "was giving him hell for not going home," but as they watched, "Atticus reached out and massaged Jem's hair, his one gesture of affection."
After Jem and Scout create a snowman that so strongly resembled Mr. Avery, Atticus claims that Jem had "perpetrated a near libel" in their front yard. Atticus told Jem that he would never worry about what would become of Jem, that he knows that Jem will "always have an idea". This remark causes Jem to blush from his father's compliment.
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