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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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mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted December 26, 2014 at 5:22 PM (Answer #2)

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Scout is starting the third grade. She and Jem still go by the Radley place, but she realizes that it no longer holds the same kind of fear that it once did. The trial has ended and Tom Robinson was convicted. The two children are still trying to come to terms with what happened at the trial.

When Scout's teacher, Miss. Gates, starts talking to the class about Hitler, she tells the class about the horrible things he is doing. She goes on to say how horrible it was what Hitler was doing. Scout has a hard time with what Miss. Gates is saying. She thinks she is being a hypocrite. After the trial she heard Miss. Gates saying that it was about time someone did something about about the blacks in town and someone needed to teach them a lesson. Scout tries to ask Jem about this, but Jem explodes at Scout and tells her not to mention the trial to him again. She asks Atticus why Jem is acting this way, and Atticus explains the Scout that Jem is still upset with the outcome of the trial. He just needs time to come to terms with what happened at the trial.

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