Describe Jem and Scout's relationship through these chapters as Jem matures. Why did Dill run away from home back to Maycomb?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Jem enters puberty, he becomes more distant and short-tempered with Scout. When he tells his sister to "start bein' a girl and acting right!", Scout bursts into tears and seeks solace with Calpurnia. Scout also misses Dill, who has not arrived yet for his regular summer stay. Jem and Scout are able to agree on their dislike for Aunt Alexandra, who unites them when she comes to stay with them at the end of Chapter 12. But the two get into a fistfight in Chapter 14, and Atticus has to step in. Things get better later that night when Dill makes his appearance--from underneath Scout's bed. Dill has run away from home, and he claims it is because of his "new father," who has chained him and left him to die in their Meridian basement. Since Dill has exaggerated so often about his father, it's hard to get a straight story about what happened. We do know that he feels unloved by his parents, who

"ain't mean. They buy me everything I want... They kiss you and hug you good night and good mornin' and goodbye and tell you they love you--"

But Dill's parents never spend any time with him, so he decides to head to Maycomb where he feels love and companionship from Jem and Scout.

zumba96 | Student

Dill starts to mature and then gets into fights with Scout. He tells her that she needs to be more like a lady and she can't handle this new Jem. She is also unhappy because Dill is not back yet and she misses him. Dill's parents are actually the worst because they do not give him love or compassionate and his step dad left him to die, so Dill travels to Maycomb to live with Atticus and Scout and Jem because this is where he will truly be loved. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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