In To Kill a Mockingbird, what does Jem do that shocks Dill and Scout in Chapter 14?

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In chapter 14, Scout and Jem get into a physical altercation, and Scout ends up punching her brother directly in the mouth. Following their fight, Atticus sends them both to their rooms, and Scout steps on something as she is getting into her bed. Scout initially thinks that she...

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In chapter 14, Scout and Jem get into a physical altercation, and Scout ends up punching her brother directly in the mouth. Following their fight, Atticus sends them both to their rooms, and Scout steps on something as she is getting into her bed. Scout initially thinks that she stepped on a snake but then Dill Harris crawls out from underneath her bed. Both Scout and Jem are shocked to discover that Dill has run away from home and is hiding underneath Scout's bed. When Jem asks Dill how and why he decided to run away, Dill makes up an elaborate story before telling the siblings the truth. Jem recognizes that Dill's family is probably worried about him and says that he needs to tell Atticus about Dill's situation. The fact that Jem would tell Atticus astonishes and shocks both Scout and Dill, who believe that Jem is doing them a disservice. When Jem leaves the room to inform his father about Dill running away, Scout says that Jem "broke the remaining code of our childhood." Jem's reaction to discovering that Dill ran away from home reveals his maturity and moral development. Jem acts responsibly by informing Atticus about Dill's situation, which confounds both Scout and Dill, who are stunned that Jem would tell on Dill.

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Scout stepped on something in the dark in her bedroom.  Thinking it was a snake, she went to Jem's room to get him.  Upon further inspection, they discovered that it was Dill, who had run away from home.  Scout, Jem, and Dill trusted one another.  Dill expressed his desire for them not to reveal his presence in the Finch house.  Jem, however, made a decision that shocked Scout and Dill.  He told Dill that they should let his mother know.  Then Jem decided to tell Atticus:

"Dill's eyes flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor.  Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood" (To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 14).

When Jem called for Atticus, he broke the trust that he had previously had with Dill and Scout.  They felt betrayed by him.  Atticus came into the room.  He made Dill feel welcomed, but did decide to tell his aunt.  After Atticus left, "Jem was standing in a corner of the room, looking like the traitor he was."

 

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