Scout and Jem have mixed feelings about Christmas in To Kill a Mockingbird. What are these feelings and why?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem and Scout love seeing their Uncle Jack, the Christmas tree, and eating Aunt Alexandra's cooking, but that's about it when it came time to spend the holiday at Finch's Landing.

     No amount of sighing could induce Atticus to let us spend Christmas day at home.

Scout dreaded the thought of dealing with her aunt and uncle and, particularly, her cousin, Francis. Uncle Jimmy never had a thing to say to Scout; in fact, he had only spoken to her once, telling her to "Get off the fence." Jimmy rarely spoke to Alexandra, either, and he preferred fishing to talking or working. As for Aunt Alexandra, Scout often wondered if she had been "swapped at birth." She was like Mount Everest:

... she was cold and there.

Cousin Francis, Alexandra's grandson, was the worst of all. A precocious brat, Francis was a bit of a dandy: Two years older than Scout, he was smaller, and he was excited about the Christmas presents he had asked for and received: knee-pants, a book bag, a bow tie and five shirts. They were quite a contrast to the air rifles and chemistry set that Jem and Scout received.

     Talking to Francis gave me the sensation of setting slowly to the bottom of the ocean. He was the most boring child I ever met.

He proved to be a tattletale and a sneak, and when he deliberately insulted Atticus and angered Scout by calling them both a "nigger-lover," Scout promptly

... split my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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