What does Scout say after Jem says something about haints in To Kill a Mockingbird?  

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In Southern dialect, a "haint" means a ghost. In the context of the story, the use of this scary word foreshadows the sudden, brutal attack on the Finch children by Bob Ewell. It is notable that Jem asks Scout if she is scared of "haints" when they are walking...

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In Southern dialect, a "haint" means a ghost. In the context of the story, the use of this scary word foreshadows the sudden, brutal attack on the Finch children by Bob Ewell. It is notable that Jem asks Scout if she is scared of "haints" when they are walking past the Radley residence. Boo Radley has been regarded by the townsfolk as if he were a "haint" or some other strange apparition for many years.

When Scout replies by telling Jem to "cut it out, now," she is showing that she is still a little afraid that something spooky and unpleasant might happen to them on this moonless evening. She is right to feel that way, as subsequent events prove. But it is not the dark forces of the supernatural that the children have to worry about or even Boo Radley himself. The dangerous threat they encounter is very much of this world.

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At the beginning of Chapter 28, Jem and Scout are about to walk to the Maycomb Halloween festival in the school auditorium. It is a warm October night, and it is very dark outside. Scout mentions that the Radley place looks rather scary and is glad that Jem is walking with her. Jem teases his sister by asking her if she's scared of haints. They both laugh and Jem recites the old incantation they used to say when they were young. Scout says, "Cut it out, now." (Lee 341) when they approach the Radley yard. Throughout the novel, the children mention superstitious beliefs which include Grey ghosts, haints, and magic. It is typical for children to believe in such things when they are young. At the end of the novel, the children are old enough not to believe in such imaginative ideas and laugh when they remember how silly they used to be. Scout says, "Haints, Hot Steams, incantations, secret signs, had vanished with our years as mist with sunrise." (Lee 341)

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