What does Jem tell Scout about his pants in Chapter 7 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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schulzie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Jem, Scout, and Dill had been lurking about the Radley home in chapter six.  They decided to go to the back door but were caught and were racing home when a shot rang out.  All three of them went under the fence.  Jem had held the fence for Dill and Scout, but then got caught on the fence when he tried to scoot under it himself. He had to kick off his pants to get through the fence.  He left in his shorts and headed quickly for home. 

In Chapter 7, Jem tells Scout that he went back for his pants, but  instead of being in the tangle as he left them, they were neatly folded across the fence, ".....like they were expecting me" (pg 58).

They had also been sewn.  He had torn them when he tried to get through the fence. Jem told Scout that he person who did the sewing did not do a very good job.  Jem said it looked all crooked.  It wasn't sewn as a lady would sew it, but like he would have repaired them himself.

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mrshh | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Boo Radley is a mysterious figure in Maycomb.  In To Kill a Mockingbird, rumors surround him, but few people seem to know the truth.  Scout, Jem, and Dill decide to learn more about Boo themselves by looking in the window of his house.  The problem is that almost every kid in town is scared of setting foot on the Radley property.  The three children decide to face their fears.

When it gets dark, the three children bravely sneak onto the Radley property.  They walk through the collard greens and the chickens in the yard, trying to be as quiet as possible.  Scout notices a shadow, and they all decide to leave.  Mr. Radley shoots his gun into the air to scare away the trespassers.  The children sneak out under the barb wire fence, but Jem's pants get stuck.  He struggles and eventually leaves them behind.  He knows he has to get them back because Atticus notices that they are missing.

Later that night, Jem returns to the Radley house.  He gets his pants, but he does not tell Scout what had happened.  In the next chapter, Jem reveals what happened when he returned to the Radley house:

"When I went back for my breeches—they were all in a tangle when I was gettin' out of 'em, I couldn't get 'em loose.  When I went back—"  Jem took a deep breath.  "When I went back, they were folded across the fence… like they were expectin' me."

Jem had found his pants folded and crudely mended.  The stitches were crooked and sloppy.  He feels as if the person who sewed them had known he would return.  This puzzles Jem.


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