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When Scout tries to tell Jem about Miss Gates, why does he react so violently? Explain...

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clowny | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 9, 2009 at 10:35 AM via web

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When Scout tries to tell Jem about Miss Gates, why does he react so violently? Explain Atticus' answer to Scout about Jem's behavior.

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 9, 2009 at 11:45 AM (Answer #1)

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In chapter 26, when Scout tries to talk to Jem about Miss Gates she mentions the courthouse.  Jem grabs Scout and tells her never to mention that courthouse to him again.  Jem is still very upset about what happened to Tom Robinson.  He believed that the jury would find Tom innocent because Atticus proved that he did not rape Mayella.  Jem's innocent outlook on life was stolen from him that day and he has yet to deal with it emotionally.  Atticus tells Scout, "don't let Jem get you down." 

"Atticus said that Jem was trying hard to forget something, but what he was really doing was storing it away for a while, until enough time passed.  Then he would be able to think about it and sort things out.  When he was able to think about it, Jem would be himself again."

Attitus was trying to tell Scout to just give Jem time to grow up a little and come to terms with the fact that things are not always fair and that society doesn't always do what is right.

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