In chapter 6 of To Kill a Mockingbird, how are the children feeling in relation to what has happened?"Had jem's pants been safely on him, we would not have...... cooled the sweat running down...

In chapter 6 of To Kill a Mockingbird, how are the children feeling in relation to what has happened?

"Had jem's pants been safely on him, we would not have...... cooled the sweat running down my sides."

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem and Scout are both feeling frightened and on-edge, but for different reasons.  The enormity of what they had just done in trespassing on the Radley place keeps both children awake, but Scout's fear is that of a young child.  Her imagination is running wild, and she envisions "Boo Radley seeking revenge" in vivid detail.  When Jem decides that he must go back to retrieve his pants, Scout is frantic.  She is afraid that Jem will "get (his) head shot off", and she tells him that though he will be in deep trouble when Atticus finds out the truth, "a lickin' hurts but it doesn't last".  Jem, however, is concerned about something more important than life and limb - to him, the worst thing would be to lose Atticus' respect. 

In acknowledging that what they did was wrong and also in realizing the value of the esteem in which Atticus holds him, Jem takes a giant step toward maturity, a step for which the younger Scout is not yet ready.  Although she doesn't fully understand, Scout is perceptive enough to note that, because of their different reaction in the aftermath of what had happened, "it was then...that Jem and I first began to part company" (Chapter 6).

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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