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The children are a year older than when Jem and Scout first met Dill in Chapter 1, and they are maturing physically and emotionally. Dill and Scout are more than just friends: Dill proposed marriage and
... promptly forgot about it. He staked me out, marked as his property, said I was the only girl he would ever love. Then he neglected me. I beat him up twice but... he only grew closer to Jem. (Chapter 5)
Although Dill becomes Scout's "permanent fiance," Scout is the odd one out since the boys' male bonding does not always include her. While the boys move their activities to the treehouse, Scout begins to spend more time at Miss Maudie's house, and they become even closer than before. The children maintain their fascination with Boo Radley, but they are forced to change their methods after Atticus catches them trying to send Boo a message via fishing pole. They are ordered to "stop tormenting that man," and Atticus teaches Jem a lesson in lawyering when he outsmarts his son during questioning about the Boo Radley game. The children had already "slowed down the game," but now it was abandoned for good. With summer nearly over, Jem had one more plan before Dill returned to Meridian, and the it would change their opinion of Boo forever.
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