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What evidence shows that Jem is beginning to understand more than Scout about Boo Radley?

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rachel-420 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 20, 2013 at 3:11 AM via iOS

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What evidence shows that Jem is beginning to understand more than Scout about Boo Radley?

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slcollins | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted February 20, 2013 at 11:17 PM (Answer #1)

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The best evidence of Jem understanding Boo Radley and his life occurs after Nathan Radley cements up the hole in the tree. This tree has become an important conduit between Boo and the kids, Jem and Scout. As more and more trinkets and treasures are left in this knothole, Jem begins to realize that someone might be leaving gifts for them, specifically. Readers begin to see that it is Boo, and Harper Lee slowly brings Jem to the same realization. It is evident that Jem understands this as he stands on the porch with tears running down his face while looking at Boo’s house. He understands that Nathan Radley has cemented that hole in the tree to prevent Boo from leaving any more presents for the kids. 

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mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 8, 2015 at 6:31 PM (Answer #2)

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Jem does a lot of growing up in the book. At the beginning we see him, Scout, and Dill obsessed with their quest to get Boo to come outside. As Jem matures more, we see that he is starting to see Boo as a person, not just a myth they have been told about. At the end of chapter 6, Jem has found his pants roughly stitched up, lying over the fence for him. He begins to think Boo had a hand in doing this. When Jem and Scout start receiving gifts in the tree, Jem knows this is the way to communicate with the elusive Boo.

When Nathan Radley seals up the knot-hole, Jem knows that the innocent communication between them and Boo is now at an end. Jem cries when he realizes that he can no longer have that connection to Boo anymore. What Jem doesn't realize is just how important he and Scout have become to Boo. Nor does he realize what an important and lifesaving role Boo will play in their lives in the near future. Their own lives are going to be held in the hands of Boo and they will come to see just how important all three of them are to each other. 

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