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What was the condition of Jem's pants when he found them and why did their condition...

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user7352577 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:08 PM via web

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What was the condition of Jem's pants when he found them and why did their condition frighten him futher in To Kill a Mockingbird

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:35 PM (Answer #1)

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When Jem goes back to get his pants at the Radley house he finds them mended. He expected to find the pants where he left them but instead finds them folded neatly and hung over the fence. 

The mending was done by an inexpert hand, indicating that a man may have fixed Jem's pants. 

This state of affairs is alarming to Jem because it signals that fact that someone (probably Boo Radley) knew that Jem had come into the yard and knew that he would come back. 

When the Nathan Radley's shot goes off and the neighborhood comes running, Radley tells people a story that is not true. Jem is content at first to believe that no one knew who was really in the Radley yard. 

Finding the pants mended and waiting for him, Jem realizes that someone did know who had been there and, beyond that, knew Jem well enough to predict he would return for his pants.

His adventure was not as secret as he had hoped. He now worries that Boo Radley knows who was attempting to spy on him.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 6, 2015 at 8:28 PM (Answer #2)

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When Jem, Scout, and Dill were fooling around by trespassing into the Radley property, they got a scare when there was a gun shot. As expected, the children fled in a hurray. However, Jem was stuck. His pants were caught in the fence. So, he had to run away without his pants. Here is what the text says:

Jem held the bottom wire; Dill and I rolled through and were halfway to the shelter of the schoolyard’s solitary oak when we sensed that Jem was not with us. We ran back and found him struggling in the fence, kicking his pants off to get loose. He ran to the oak tree in his shorts.

Jem was afraid that he was going to get in trouble from Atticus, but he managed to dodge him. However, what made him afraid and perplexed was when he found his pants mended. The natural question was who mended the pants. The logical answer was Boo. That Boo would do such a thing frightened the children, because the implication was that Boo knew what they were up to. Boo was watching them. 

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