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In Chapter 6 of Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem at first does not understand or feel comfortable with the plan by Jem and Dill to look into the window of the Radley residence at night (in order to try to see the mysterious Boo Radley). When Scout questions her brother, Jem replies with some reasonable explanations of his plan but also with a good deal of irony and sarcasm. He saves his most potent comment, however, for last:
“Scout, I’m tellin’ you for the last time, shut your trap or go home – I declare you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!”
“With that,” Scout explains, “I had no option but to join them.”
This exchange is typical of much of the comedy of the novel. Scout can withstand just about any other kind of rebuke, but being told that she is behaving “like a girl” – especially when she prides herself on being a tomboy – is just too much for her. After hearing this retort from her brother, she immediately, and without any further explanation, chooses to join Jem and Dill in their plan. The comic tension between brother and sister, both here and elsewhere in the book, is one of the most appealing aspects of the novel – an aspect to which many siblings can fondly relate.
When Jem proclaims: "'Scout, I'm tellin' you for the last time, shut your trap or go home - I declare to the Lord you're gettin' more like a girl every day!'" (Lee 58). Scout then thinks in reply: "With that, I had no option but to join them" (Lee 58); (Roughly paragraphs 24-5). By criticizing her "girliness" and essentially telling her she was incapable of participating in something, Scout was fired up to prove the boys wrong.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Harper Perennial
Modern Classics, 2006. Print.
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