In "To Kill a Mockingbird", how does Dill explain the loss of Jem’s pants? How does Jem get them back?  Chapter 6 in " To Kill a Mckingbird

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lizbv eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Miss Stephanie and Atticus notice that his pants are missing, Dill quickly steps in and says, " We were playin' strip poker up yonder by the fish pond" (54).  To their relief, "[t]he neighbors seemed satisfied" (55) with that answer; at least all were satisfied except Miss Rachel, Dill's aunt, who was about to go at him when Atticus stepped in suspicious that the kids had never played that before.  Quickly thinking, Jem stepped in and said they ahd been playing with matches, not cards, realizing as Scout observes, that "[m]atches were dangerous, but cards were fatal" (55) in the disapproving eyes of adults. 

Jem went back later to get his pants, yet upon his return seemed strange and said nothing to Scout about what he had encountered when he went back.  It was not until a week later when school started that Jem finally spoke up and told Scout " 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 -- ... they were folded across the fence... like they were expectin' me" (58).  This leads the reader to believe that it was Boo Radley who had placed the pants on the fence for him, having been watching the kids' antics yet again, just like earlier when he was leaving gifts for them in the tree on the Radley property.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In one of the more memorable scenes of the novel, the children sneak into the Radley yard and attempt to get a look at Boo through the windows. Unfortunately, they do not  see Boo but create a disturbance, which is heard by Boo's brother, Nathan. Unaware that Jem, Scout, and Dill are trespassing, Nathan shoots his shotgun into the air to scare away the intruders. As the children are escaping from the Radley yard, Jem gets his pants stuck in the fence and is forced to leave them behind. After the children regroup, they meet up with the neighbors standing outside of the Radley home in an attempt to avoid suspicion. When Atticus asks Jem where his pants are, Dill speaks up and says that he won them in a game of strip poker. Jem corroborates Dill's story by mentioning that they were betting with matches instead of playing cards. Later that night, Jem travels back to the Radley yard and finds his pants mended and folded on the fence. At the time Jem retrieves his pants, he does not know that it was Boo who had repaired them and placed them on the fence.  

lesli93 | Student

dill said that he won jem's pants by playing strip poker. Jem goes back to the Radley's place to get his pants at night.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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