What Does Jem Confess To Scout

In Chapter 7 of To Kill a Mockingbird, what is ironic about Jem's telling Scout about the pants on that specific day?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem had been unusually quiet about his late night excursion to the Radley house to retrieve his lost pants. But he finally opened up to Scout, confessing that when he returned to the Radley property, he found his pants waiting for him folded upon the fence--freshly stitched in a "crooked" manner. Later that day, Jem and Scout passed by the secret knot-hole in the Radley oak and, ironically, found a ball of twine--possibly the same string that was used to stitch up Jem's pants. Yet it was still not clear to the children that the gifts had come from Boo since Jem believed that the knot-hole was probably "some little kid's (hiding) place."

aszerdi | Student

In the following conversation, Jem tells Scout about what happened the night they ran from the Radley's place where he lost his pants.

"Jem waved my words away as if fanning gnats. He was silent for a while, then he said, “When I went back for my breeches—they were all in a tangle when I was gettin‘ out of’em, I couldn’t get ‘em loose. When I went back—” Jem took a deep breath. “When I went back, they were folded across the fence... like they were expectin’ me.”
“And something else—” Jem’s voice was flat. “Show you when we get home. They’d been sewed up. Not like a lady sewed ‘em, like somethin’ I’d try to do. All crooked. It’s almost like—”
“—somebody knew you were comin‘ back for ’em.”
Jem shuddered. “Like somebody was readin‘my mind... like somebody could tell what I was gonna do. Can’t anybody tell what I’m gonna do lest they know me, can they, Scout?”"
Throughout the entire book, people misjudge Boo Radley. The children have this perception that he is a horrific being. Here, however, he has actually done Jem a kind favor. He freed his trousers from the fence and tried to fix them by sewing them up. Boo then folded them neatly, so whoever left them behind could retrieve them. Despite this small act of mercy, Jem's view of Boo as a mystical, ghostly being is only furthered.
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To Kill a Mockingbird

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