In "To Kill a Mockingbird" Scout and Jem are discussing how Jem broke his arm. What does Atticus tell them it started with? I'm basically asking how it all started.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus says that both Scout and Jem's view of it were right.  Scout thinks "that the Ewells started it all" and Jem thought that "it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."  So Scout tends to look at the event in a negative way; she focuses on the sordid Bob Ewell, and thinks that if he hadn't been a part of the entire situation involving Tom Robinson, then the terrifying encounter that night would have never happened.  Jem on the other hand takes a more positive light; he focuses on the rescue by Boo.  He thinks about what might have happened if Boo hadn't been there.  So, thinking of Boo's connection to the events, he realizes that when they started pestering Boo during the summer Dill showed up, that is when the unusual friendship with Boo started, and that, in the end, is what saved them.

So how DID it all start?  It depends on how you look at it; Atticus says that they are both right, that both aspects led to the events.  It is one of those questions that you could ponder forever; even Scout says that if you "wanted to take a broad view of the thing, it really began with Andrew Jackson."  Time is a continuous spectrum and each event contributes to the next, so pinpointing the "beginning" is tricky.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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