In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, what direct order does Atticus give the children in Chapter Five?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the children have been playing "The Radleys," a game they started in Chapter Four. On this particular day, they are trying to slip a note to Boo to try to get him to come out of the house. Jem and Scout are trying to deliver the note, while Dill keeps an eye out. By the time Dill spots Atticus, who has returned because he has forgotten something at home, Dill is too late to warn Scout and Jem in time, though he rings the alarm bell until Atticus tells him to stop.

Atticus tells all three of the children to leave Boo Radley alone.

"Son," he said to Jem, "I'm going to tell you something and tell you one time: stop  tormenting that man. That goes for the other two of you."

..."We weren't making fun of him..."

"So that was what you were doing, wasn't it?"

"Makin, fun of him?"

"No," said Atticus, "putting his life's history on display  for the edification of the neighborhood."

Atticus tries to explain to the children that Boo Radley's life is his own business. He does not need an invitation, for if he wanted to come out into the world he would, but he deserves the right not to be tormented by children in the neighborhood. Atticus is clear that they had better leave Boo Radley alone.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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