In To Kill a Mockingbird, what secret does Jem reveal to Scout about what happened the night he went back to the Radley place for his pants?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many secrets that Jem reveals to Scout on the night of the fire. He also reveals them to Atticus. It is interesting that it takes so long for Jem to share his thoughts. The implication is that Jem was mulling things over in his mind. When he came to certain conclusions, he finally shared them, or perhaps when he could hold things in no longer. 

Jem seemed to have lost his mind. He began pouring out our secrets right and left in total disregard for my safety if not for his own, omitting nothing, knot-hole, pants and all.

“...Mr. Nathan put cement in that tree, Atticus, an‘ he did it to stop us findin’ things—he’s crazy, I reckon, like they say, but Atticus, I swear to God he ain’t ever harmed us, he ain’t ever hurt us, he coulda cut my throat from ear to ear that night but he tried to mend my pants instead... he ain’t ever hurt us, Atticus—”

Atticus said, “Whoa, son,” so gently that I was greatly heartened. It was obvious that he had not followed a word Jem said, for all Atticus said was, “You’re right. We’d better keep this and the blanket to ourselves. Someday, maybe, Scout can thank him for covering her up.”

From this long quotation, we can learn a few things. First, Jem is certainly maturing. He is beyond his childish ways. Second, Jem is developing a moral compass, like his father. In the beginning he would poke fun at the Radleys and Boo, but he realizes that this is wrong. Moreover, he realizes that Boo is a good person who is misunderstood. 

tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem reveals to Scout what happened on the night that he got his pants caught in the Radleys' fence in chapter seven. Scout knew that he had gone back for his pants, but when he came back that night with the pants, he didn't say anything about what had happened next. She waited until he was ready to tell her what happened, rather than force the issue. When Jem finally opens up to her, he tells her that he was surprised to find his pants "folded across the fence. . . like they were expecting me" (58). Not only that, but they were crudely mended as if a man had tried to stitch them up, not a handy woman. Jem doesn't know what to think about someone from the Radley house acting like a friend to him. Whoever it was seemed to know that Jem would return for his britches, too. This is creepy because that person would also have to know Jem's character and personality pretty well to mend his pants and have them waiting for him when he came back for them.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem takes his time before he tells his sister that his pants were mended when he went back to get them. By taking his time before telling his sister, he is showing that he is growing up. He is taking time to think about things that happen to him and trying to put them into perspective. Scout notices this change in Jem and says, “It was then, I suppose, that Jem and I first begin to part company.”

shavuntae | Student

he tells her that when he went back to get his pants from the Duradleys place that they were folded by the gate and the rip in the pants were fixed.

fatty123 | Student

he said he met his pants folded back like someone was expecting him

huggybearr17 | Student

he tells her some one had stuched his pants and neatly hung them on the gate. (boo)

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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