To Kill A Mockingbird Chapter 6 Quotes

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The children's seemingly innocent excursion to the Radley's back porch ends in near disaster. A shadow--most certainly that of Boo--scares them from the porch; Mr. Radley fires a shotgun blast into the air; Jem loses his pants and is later discovered by Miss Stephanie in his underwear; Dill is forced to concoct a lie about playing "strip poker"; and after everything has settled down, Jem decides to return to the Radleys' to recover his pants. Scout tries to talk him out of going back to the Radleys, worried that he might "get your head shot off." But Jem has a reason for returning: He doesn't want to lose Atticus's trust in him.

     "I--it's like this, Scout," he muttered. "Atticus ain't ever whipped me since I can remember. I wanta keep it that way."  (Chapter 6)

Jem knows that Atticus will want to see his lost pants in the morning, and Jem doesn't want his father to find out about the children lying or having been on the Radley property without permission. He already feels guilty about the deception and has figured out that "We shouldn'a done that tonight, Scout." So, he undertakes an early morning return mission after Atticus is asleep, successfully returning with the pants--and a surprise that he doesn't reveal to Scout until a week later.

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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One passage found in Chapter 6 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird helps develop two minor themes in the story, one concerning gender roles and the other concerning bravery. Lee combines the two themes to nullify cliche, prejudiced understandings of gender roles.

At the start of the story, both children hold very cliche views about gender roles. Both associate being male with bravery and being a girl with cowardice. But as the story progresses, Scout and Jem come to realize that being either a lady or a gentleman equally requires a great deal of courage. Since events in Chapter 6 occur early in the story, both children still associate being a girl with being a coward. Both display their early gender association during their conversation about the boys' plans to trespass on the Radleys' property that night. When Scout begs them not to go, fearing for their safety, Jem retorts, "Scout, I'm tellin' you for the last time, shut your trap or go home--I declare to the Lord you're gettin' more like a girl every day!," showing us that Jem associates cowardice with being a girl.

Furthermore, Scout explains in her narrative that, because Jem had called her a girl, she felt she "had no option but to join them," which shows Scout also associates being a girl with being cowardly.

Hence, both of these important quotes relate to Lee's theme concerning cliche, prejudiced views of gender roles, a theme she continues to develop as the book progresses.


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