What causes fear in the hearts of Jem and Scout in To Kill a Mockingird?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The narrative of To Kill a Mockingbird, among other things, acts as a reminder to many a reader of how much fear--whether imagined or real--is a part of childhood. Many times it is generated from active imaginations such as that of little Dill (Charles Baker Harris). Here are some incidents that generate fear in the children's hearts:

  1. The old Radley house and the "haint" that lives in it
  2. The "Hot Steams"
  3. Nathan Radley who comes out and shoots his rifle
  4. Burris Ewell with his surly attitude and lice in his hair.
  5. Scout worries that Uncle Jack will break his promise not to tell Atticus that she was in a fight.
  6. The rabid dog named Tim Johnson
  7. Mrs. Dubose
  8. The group of men who congregate in the front yard one Sunday afternoon.
  9. Lula at Calpurnia's church
  10. The Old Sarum bunch who want to lynch Tom Robinson
  11. The arguments between Alexandra and Atticus
  12. The stress that shows on Atticus and the names that he is called.
  13. Scout, at least, fears that her Aunt Alexandra may have come to stay
  14. Scout worries that Aunt Alexandra will fire Calpurnia
  15. The trial of Tom Robinson makes Scout and Jem, at least, anxious
  16. Dill gets sick from some of the testimony
  17. Jem is sickened after the trial. He cries, worried about the future trials. 
  18. Bob Ewell may do harm to them.
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